June is Caribbean Heritage Month in the United States and has been since 2005. This year Carib Biz Network a small business platform decided to celebrate with a cultural, and business expo. Founder Dr. Nicole Grimes partnered with City Point Mall in Brooklyn, N.Y. for the two-day event. The expo featured vendors, a DJ, live steel pan music, and panel discussions. The event kicked off with a cocktail reception Friday night, June 25th. Over the next two days, there were panel discussions, and market, and live steel pan sounds provided plenty of engagement for attendees. Dr. Nicole Grimes and business partner, Nneka Watkins, have big plans for expanding the Momentum event. Here is some of what she had to say.
POSH: Hi Nicole, let’s start by telling our readers where in the Caribbean you’re from.
Nicole Grimes: I am a very proud Trini, born and raised. I moved to the United States when I was about 15 years old.
POSH: Have you done this event previously or is this the first?
Nicole Grimes: Carib Biz Network is two years old and this is our first event in June for Caribbean Heritage Month. Although we’re pretty new, we just felt we need a rambunctious big celebration of us. We’re here in New York and what better place than the “Mecca” of the Caribbean outside the Caribbean. So we decided to do it, and started working on the events. Basically, it’s to celebrate us, but mostly from the entrepreneurial standpoint.
POSH: How many businesses are represented at the event, are they all U.S. based?
Nicole Grimes: We have 50 Caribbean vendors here, representing so many islands. 20 Caribbean brands flew in directly from the Caribbean this week to be here, including Loud by Afiya from Trinidad, and David Andre Collections from Haiti.
POSH: So the event is really representing the diaspora, how do you feel about that aspect of the event?
Nicole Grimes: We’re so excited to do something that not only represents us in New York but the diaspora. We have people who flew in from Miami, from Atlanta, from Chicago, and even directly from Trinidad to speak on our panels. We’re excited to be part of creating space for us to show up big and bad in the world.
POSH: What percentage of the companies represented at the event are headed by women?
Nicole Grimes: In the United States, more entrepreneurs are women to begin with. That’s also true in our network, so it’s probably closer to 80% of our vendors that are businesses operated by women.
POSH: How would you like the event to evolve?
Nicole Grimes: We have a five-year plan. Our vision for year five is so big and so scary but we’re excited. What we are going to be doing is putting this on the road. We want to have Momentum in different cities, and we’re also planning to do one in London.
*Caribbean POSH would like to thank Dr. Nicole Grimes for this interview
* For more info on the Carib Biz Network please visit: