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Fourth Annual QC Empowerment Black Business Expo

Seth Caron and Marcus Gray, with What's That Funk?, chat with customers during the Fourth Annual QC Empowerment Black Business Expo Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, at SouthPark Mall in Moline. The free event was created to highlight black-owned businesses throughout the Quad Cities.

Minority-owned small businesses in the Quad-Cities can now apply for a grant to purchase or repair equipment.

The Illinois Small Business Development Center, or SBDC, at Western Illinois University's Quad-Cities campus, is accepting applications for its 2019 Minority Empowerment Equipment Grant, according to a news release. For the second year, the grant is aimed at stimulating startups and strengthening existing businesses to promote economic prosperity. 

In 2019, the Illinois SBDC granted $12,000 to 14 small businesses in the area. The money was used for carpet extractors, sewing machines, generators, freezers, repair parts, furniture and more, according to the release. 

Applications are due April 19 and are available in the Illinois SBDC Quad-Cities office at WIU's campus, 3300 River Drive, Building C, Room 1420L, Moline. For more information, call 309-762-3999, etc. 62243. 

Pipe Trades Apprentice Contest held for first time since '70s

For the first time in nearly four decades, Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 25 hosted some of the trade's top apprentices from across Illinois during the 2019 apprentice contest. 

Organized by the Committee on Training and Education, or COTE, 32 apprentices representing 14 unions competed in categories including plumbing, pipefitting, welding, sprinkler fitting and more, according to a news release. 

"It was a tremendous honor to host this year’s COTE Apprentice Contest in our state-of-the-art training center at Local 25," said Matt Lienen, business manager, in the release. "This two-day competition gave our apprentices the chance to test their knowledge and skills and compete with some of the best apprentices from around the state of Illinois. We’re proud of their achievements and the impressive skills they displayed."

Illinois winners will move on to the regional competition on June 10 through 13 in Minnesota. 

Farmers Market Nutrition Program available

New and returning farmers market vendors have the opportunity to view webinar training at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach office in Scott County. 

In cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, ISU's outreach office will provide viewing for the Farmers Market Nutrition Program 2019 webinar training on March 28 and April 11. 

In Scott County, the program will be available at 10 a.m. on March 28 and April 11, at 875 Tanglefoot Lane, Bettendorf. 

Registration is not required. For more information, contact or visit

Sarah Ritter

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