The St. Louis Regional Chamber Diverse Business Accelerator is designed to address the interests and challenges of diverse business owners as they work to scale their businesses. Participants in our capacity building program are diversely owned small businesses. This is a multi-phase program that creates a welcoming and stimulating environment for participants to receive and share valuable feedback, self-reflect, acquire effective business development strategies, and build relationships essential to their business’ growth.
U.S. Essential Supply & Services, LLC (USE) President Kayla Dennis is part of the inaugural cohort of the St. Louis Regional Chamber Diverse Business Accelerator. We sat down with Kayla to talk about her experience as part of the inaugural Diverse Business Accelerator cohort.
How did you get started in your business?
With encouragement from a trusted mentor, I transitioned from 16+ years challenged as a union specialty construction company owner to kickstart USE. I started and sustain USE by building relationships with ethical partners and establishing win/win outcomes.
What does success look like to you? Success is subjective. For me, success is quelling ignorance and limitations of minorities and women in my day to day endeavors. Success for me is leading a viable company that provides me and my team resources to make positive contributions and influences in communities we live and work in. Success for me includes nurturing a sustainable authentic company that allows me to provide employment opportunity to talented individuals who look like me thus seeding and fueling their well-being and possibly other’s entrepreneurial spirits as well. I think our youth should see minorities and women leading positive change to believe they too are empowered.
What brought you to the St. Louis Regional Chamber Diverse Business Accelerator?
Optimism! I have a desire to scale my business in local and regional markets, get more tech and social media savvy, and contribute and encourage minority and women-owned business initiatives in the St. Louis region.
Tell us about your experience in the St. Louis Regional Chamber Diverse Business Accelerator.
I am gaining great benefits, building of my business acumen and relationships, with access to Regional Chamber events and staff. I am fueling ingenuity and gumption as Program Director Lakesha Mathis and Senior Vice President Valerie Patton created a trusted environment with high regard for cohorts that is not condescending or debilitating. Although weekly meetings are a significant investment of time, the meetings allow for three hours of professional feedback from my objectives of enhancing USE’s branding and marketing prowess.
What was your one main takeaway from the St. Louis Regional Chamber Diverse Business Accelerator? Affirmation that relationships and access can make a big difference in the outcomes of my professional and financial investment in my business.
How has the St. Louis Regional Chamber Diverse Business Accelerator impacted your professional goals?
I am optimistic about growth of my business in St. Louis. I am again hopeful that minority and women-owned businesses can thrive, and not just survive, in this market. Honing my skills further empowers and enables me to drive the successes of my company. Interested in learning more about the Diverse Business Accelerator? Read more about the program here or contact Program Director, Inclusive Business Solutions Lakesha Mathis at firstname.lastname@example.org.