There’s more to know about minority-owned businesses, and this free event is a place to find out

VIRGINIA BEACH — “Forging Sustainable Diversity in the Marketplace” is the theme of the Virginia Beach Minority Business Council’s 20th Annual Conference and Expo on Nov. 8

The event will from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St.

It’s free and open to the public, but space is limited. Register online at, according to a news release from the city.

The guest speaker is Duane Thompson, a foodie entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Sabrosa Foods, Inc., and author of “Think Outside the Bottle,” an Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite.

Thompson was voted 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year by Hampton Roads Inside Business Journal and voted 2012 Hampton Roads Top 40 Under 40.

Sabrosa Foods, Inc. was awarded 2008 Best New Food Product by Virginia Department of Agriculture and was a 2012 USDA’s Value Added Producers Grant recipient.

This year’s conference aims to encourage and promote sustainable diversity in the areas of contract awards and procurement opportunities, according to the news release.

The conference is a place for small businesses and those owned by women, minorities and veterans to market and promote their goods and services.

Attendees will have opportunities to learn strategies to help to propel their enterprises to the next level while sharing their companies’ strengths and capabilities with procurement officials from across the state.

To register, visit the Minority Business Council’s website at

For information, contact Lavera Tolentino at 757-385-4438.

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.