President Kennedy said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Right now in Tallahassee, the tide is on the upswing.
Unemployment is down. Energy and pride are up. Cranes are dotting our local skyline with the message that development is on the move.
But if our community is to truly take the next step forward, we must ensure that everyone is able to step forward together.
Coming out of a standing-room-only annual meeting in March, the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce has set an aggressive course to help our women and minority-owned businesses take hold of their economic futures in the capital region. With the clear vision and strong leadership of our new president, Antonio Jefferson, 2019 is poised to be a banner year of growth and prosperity for our members.
However, we know vague aspirations without specific actions ring hollow for those business owners trying to hang a shingle or make payroll at the end of the month. That’s why we have laid out the following realistic and measurable goals to ensure our members can feel the impact of the BBMC in a real way.
We will help a member navigate the RFP process and win a bid, a grant application or an opportunity that requires growth. The procurement and application processes for big contracts can be cumbersome and confusing, even for the most seasoned business owners. We will ensure our members can nimbly and effectively navigate those processes and be successful in them.
We will connect a minority or women-owned business to an apprenticeship opportunity with a Fortune 500 company in their industry or silo. We know that when trying to grow and manage a business, building and maintaining relationships can be the difference between thriving and closing your doors. Having a connection to a successful, profitable organization will teach our members the ins and outs of what to do to get there.
We will embolden our advocacy arm to fight against policies that harm our women and minority-owned businesses. We will continue to stand in the gap against exclusionary practices and make sure that when policy decisions are being made that impact our members, the BBMC has a voice that demands to be heard.
We will help train those in power and in positions of trust how to create minority millionaires in our service area, not only through traditional means, but also innovative public-private partnerships with minority and women-owned firms. For better or worse, Tallahassee’s economy is predominantly tied to the government, which keeps us afloat in bad times but holds us back in good times. We must strive to create a dynamic, business-driven local economy that works for everyone in Tallahassee – but we will not get there without our women and minority-owned business community achieving high levels of success.