Entrepreneurs to exhibit at HHOMA Minority Business Expo May 7


CHARLESTON, WV — The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA) presents the sixth annual Minority Business Expo on Tuesday, May 7. For the first time, the event will be held in the City of Ranson in Jefferson County. The expo creates opportunities for minorities, veterans and women business owners to network with business and government leaders. 

“The expo encourages business development in West Virginia and the inclusion of historically under-represented communities,” said Jill Upson, executive director of HHOMA. “Women, veterans and minorities must be involved in the creation of businesses, licensure process and participation in the economic development of our great state.”

Attendees and exhibitors must register online by April 30. Attendance is free. Exhibit booth space is $100, which is waived for state agencies and nonprofits.

The 2019 Minority Business Expo will feature exhibits, a keynote address from U.S. Small Business Administration Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Michelle Christian, and a workshop led by West Virginia Secretary of State Andrew “Mac” Warner.

The expo operates from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., May 7, at the Ranson Civic Center, 432 W. 2nd Avenue, Ranson.

For more information, visit the Office of Minority Affairs online at minorityaffairs.wv.gov, on Facebook or Twitter, or call the office at 304-356-2023.

HHOMA will host a second 2019 Minority Business Expo in Charleston in October.


Michelle Christian will deliver the keynote address at the Minority Business Expo on May 7 at the Ranson Civic Center. The White House appointed Christian as U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator in 2018. She is responsible for a field staff of more than 100 loan, business, and community outreach specialists. Her office oversees the delivery and management of the federal agency’s small business programs, financial assistance, and business development initiatives throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region. 

Before joining the SBA, Christian worked as an attorney in private and non-profit sectors and held the position of principal of her own law firm. She served on the boards of numerous civic and business associations as well as serving on the board of the Pennsylvania Hispanic Bar Association. 

Christian graduated with her bachelor’s in criminal justice at St. John’s University and received her Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law.  


West Virginia Secretary of State Andrew “Mac” Warner will lead a workshop on resources for business owners and entrepreneurs. The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office opened the One Stop Business Portal to provide the state’s businesses with one online location where they can find everything they need to register. The One Stop portal streamlines processes related to business registration, filing business taxes, maintaining licenses and permits, and other issues.

A native of West Virginia, Warner received his J.D. from West Virginia University. He also has a master’s in military law from the Army Judge Advocate General's school and a master’s in international law from the University of Virginia. Warner served in the U.S. Army in a career that spanned on four continents in 23 years. He held a variety of leadership and teaching posts, including staff at the U.S. Army War College and  the Chief of International Law for the US Army Europe in Heidelberg, Germany. After retiring, Warner worked as a contractor for the U.S. State Department in Afghanistan for five years. He took office as West Virginia’s Secretary of State in 2017.

  • The deadline to register is Tuesday, April 30 at bit.ly/2Va7Vwh. No registration will be available at the event.
  • Nonprofits and government agencies may exhibit at no charge. 
  • Exhibit space costs $100 for a 10x10-foot area with a 25-foot maximum height. One 6-foot long table and two chairs are included with no extra charge. Credit/debit card payments are accepted by phone at (304) 725-1010.
  • Exhibits can promote services, display products and announce job openings, among other messages. 
  • Exhibitors who intend to sell products must have a $5 one-time peddlers license. The license application is available from the City of Ranson here.
  • Outlet use is limited.
  • Exhibitors must provide their own table covers.
  • Pop up banners are welcomed. No items may be affixed to facility structures, including walls, windows or drapes. 
  • Exhibit setup is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Displays must remain in place during the expo, which runs from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Exhibits must be removed from the venue by 6 p.m.

Contact Information

Michelle Petties — Michelle.D.Petties@wv.gov, 304-356-2023