Minority businesses celebrated

The 16th annual Minority Enterprise Development Week kicked-off its networking reception at the Governor’s Club on Adams st. The theme for the week long celebration was “The Power of Strategic Partnerships in the Global Economy.”

The events sponsored by Capital City Chamber of Commerce, focuses on the achievements and contributions made by minority businesses and the support of the government and corporate community.

Ben Harris, the City of Tallahassee’s Minority Business Enterprise administrator, said there is still hope for businesses in today’s economy.

“It’s a hard time for all businesses, not just minority businesses,” Harris said. “But we hope we have a good and viable program to help these businesses.”

According to MBE Fact Finding Disparity Study, the objective of the MBE department is to remedy the present effects of past discrimination by assisting certified minority businesses with identifying and participating in City of Tallahassee procurement opportunities.

Sessions were held from Oct. 6-9 and covered a variety of workshops for business development for owners of both new and established companies.

Leann Watts Williams, a committee member with the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, said business owners should take advantage of this opportunity.

“This is a great opportunity for business owners to enhance their practice and network with their neighbors,” Williams said. “Committee members serve on numerous agencies, they have the connections to spread the word about your business and help it expand.”

The events also provided information on responding to bids and projects for certified minority and women-owned businesses.

Membership into MBE varies depending on the revenue and size of the business. Small businesses can expect to pay $150 and large businesses up to $500 stated Janie Reddigs, an office administrator for the Chamber of Commerce.

“You don’t have to own a business to be a part of this organization,” Reddings said. “Individuals who just want to be knowledgeable in the field of business are welcomed.”

Many political leaders and veterans of the business world attended the annual weeklong celebration. Florida A&M University professor, Melissa Leon, has worked with the chamber and small businesses for over ten years.

“The events to come are beneficial to students and professionals,” Leon said. “It’s a chance for business owners and political figures to share their knowledge with us.”

To close out the event, a recognition luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 at the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center. Guest speaker for the luncheon will be Rebecca Dirden-Mattingly of Creative Strategy Consulting in Tallahassee. At the recognition event, Mr. Freddie Franklin of Miracle Hill Nursing Center will be honored as the “2008 Reginald L. Rolle Economic Development Champion.”