News Column

Jacksonville Minority-owned Businesses Recognized

October 2, 2013

It's a day to spotlight minority-owned business.

Minority Enterprise Development Day will be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Jacksonville Commons Recreation Center to give area residents a chance to learn more about the area's businesses.

The day will be putting "the spotlight on a specific segment of our business community and educating the public on all the products and services that are available in their hometown," said Laurette Leagon, president of the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce. "You do not need to travel out of the area."

The day also will give minority-owned small businesses some publicity, which few can afford to advertise in traditional media such as newspapers or television, Leagon said.

The annual event, which is free and open to the public, began eight years ago and has grown annually, said Million Heir-Williams, vice president of the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce.

More than 30 exhibitors are scheduled to be attend and Williams hopes to see at least 175 residents.

This year's theme is "Joining Forces to Enhance Your Business," and chamber staff will acknowledge contributions of minority entrepreneurs, individuals and organizations that support growth and development of minority-owned businesses.

This year's theme stresses networking, area businesses joining forces with each other -- and the Chamber of Commerce -- and introducing area residents to businesses with which they are unfamiliar, Williams said.

The event will more than a ceremony, however.

Two awards -- the Linda L. Richardson Business Advocate of the Year and the Minority Business Entrepreneur of the Year -- will be given out based on business accomplishments, chamber of commerce involvement, community service, and other memberships, achievements and awards.

And business owners will have the chance to learn during roundtables offered by the chamber. Williams said instead of featuring one keynote speaker, the event will offer speakers on several business-related topics and when the last speaker has finished, area business owners will be able to grab a seat at a table and ask more questions. Topics to be discussed include licensure, incorporations and regulations; financial challenges that matter most; personal credit; personal credit destruction vs. business credit; and using social media.

Area residents also are welcome to browse booths about area businesses.

"I can do a list off the top of my head in this community," Williams said. "There are a number of minority-owned businesses that are very successful."

A few she named off the top of her head were Chick-Fil-A, Saunders Funeral Home, Military and Federal Construction Company and By Her Design.

Events such as MED Day level help minority-owned small businesses compare to their competitors, Williams said.

"It provides a level playing field for all the players in the marketplace, all the businesses in the marketplace," she said, explaining that the event also allows the community to recognize successful minority-owned businesses. "There's a lot of successful minority-owned businesses. I think sometimes people don't think of that. Sometimes you need to remind people, I think."

MED Day stems from a 1969 order signed by President Richardson Nixon to establish the President's Council on Minority Business Enterprise. That order resulted in the Office of Minority Business Enterprise, which was created at the U.S. Department of Commerce and later became the Minority Business Development Agency.

The day is observed on a national, state and local level ranging from a week-long observance to Onslow County's one-day observance.

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(c)2013 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.)

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Original headline: Minority-owned businesses recognized



Source: (c)2013 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.)