Guest post by Rita Brogan, CEO of PRR
The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce has expanded its support for small and minority-owned businesses with a new executive position. Since February 2012, small business owner Regina Glenn has served as the Chamber’s vice president of multicultural and small business development.
The new position will integrate the functions of the Urban Enterprise Center (UEC) into the operations of the Chamber. Established in 1993 as an affiliate of the Chamber, the UEC was charged with helping grow minority-owned businesses. Last spring, UEC and Chamber leaders convened a task force to determine how best to serve this mission. Their top recommendation was to create a Chamber executive role that would build on the UEC’s work while taking better advantage of the Chamber’s small-business services. These programs include networking events, professional development workshops, policy advocacy and employee benefits like health insurance and 401(k) plans.
“The Chamber is quite the resource if you know how to use it,” says Glenn. She brings to this position her decades of commitment to advancing diverse businesses. She first moved to Seattle in the late 1970s as Mayor Royer’s director of licensing and consumer affairs. In the early 1990s she began a consulting practice, Pacific Communications Consultants, that specialized in diversity training and contracting outreach to minority-owned businesses. At the same time she published Diversity Business News from 1990-1994.
Glenn’s hands are full. She is busy establishing partnerships with organizations such as the Tabor 500, the Northwest Minority Supplier Development Council, Filipino Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest, King County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and others.
She is also launching a number of new initiatives that will help multicultural and small businesses take full advantage of the Chamber’s business services such as:
- An online resource for small businesses with information such as how to access capital.
- A “how to do business with…” series to help smaller businesses form ongoing relationships with larger corporations.
- A business growth and development series starting this winter, featuring successful business speakers.
- A business accelerator program that will match established minority businesses with a major corporation in the region, starting in fall 2013.
“This is not a social service,” says Glenn. “We are about increasing profits for multicultural businesses and integrating them into all aspects of the Chamber’s programs and policy advocacy.”
We will be announcing the Chamber’s new multicultural programs as they come on line. It promises to be a great resource for minority entrepreneurs.
Rita Brogan is the CEO of PRR, a public affairs and communications firm based in Seattle, one of Washington’s 50 largest minority-owned businesses. Brogan was a recent recipient of the Foster School’s Business and Economic Development Center Asian/Pacific Islander Business Leadership Award. She writes the BEDC Brogan blog series monthly. Previously, she covered green economy issues with an emphasis on ways that businesses owned by people of color or women can create a competitive advantage. Her current blog topic focus is on innovation.