• The New St. Louis Minority Business Council Will Measure Success on Helping MBEs Grow and Create Jobs

    Dec 10, 2015

    Connection, collaboration and accountability were the theme of a celebration reception yesterday evening at the St. Louis Regional Chamber. Recently the Chamber and the St. Louis Minority Business Council joined forces as one team for economic inclusion in the St. Louis region. At tonight’s reception, Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan together with St. Louis Minority Business Council President Ed Bryant unveiled more details about the new St. Louis Minority Business Council, LLC powered by the Regional Chamber.

    By joining with the Regional Chamber, the Council will be at the center of the region’s economic development ecosystem and will be able to leverage the Chambers’ resources to better help ethnic minority owned businesses (MBEs) grow and create jobs. As part of the merger agreement, the Council will retain its own board and governance, but will keep its physical, financial, and organizational home at the Regional Chamber.

    The new Council is looking forward to focusing on four strategic areas:

    • Supplier Diversity Facilitation/Sourcing Solutions – The diverse business solutions will focus on connecting major sourcing organizations with MBEs for mutual business success and opportunities. This will include supplier diversity program development support, industry-specific supplier diversity forums, and matchmaking events. The Council will continue to offer MBE certification and re-certification and are now adding full membership support from the Regional Chamber.
    • Advocacy for Minority Business Development - Working in partnership with other regional leaders and organizations, the Council will provide leadership and guidance on public policy issues that improve regional economic inclusion and help ensure that economic inclusion is a key component of the region’s growth strategy. 
    • Business Capacity Building and Acceleration - To fulfill a sustainable role in a value chain, minority business enterprises must deliver real value. The Council will help ensure these businesses have adequate access to mentoring, technical consulting, capital, and any other services/resources that will assist them to become successful.
    • Leadership Development and Executive Education – High performing and high-growth potential minority business leaders can benefit from executive education and leadership development coordinated by the Council.

    Finally, the new Council will be held accountable for achieving results. Success will be measured by how well minority owned businesses are becoming strategic partners with major sourcing organizations. Both MBEs and major sourcing organizations play an important role in creating a more economically equitable region; therefore both are essential to the success of the Council’s mission.

    The merger is an example of moving away from the “us vs. them” narrative that has dominated the St. Louis region’s story for far too long. Here at the Regional Chamber, our mission is to inspire a greater St. Louis. By joining efforts with the St. Louis Minority Business Council, the Regional Chamber hopes to inspire many more businesses and individuals to work together for a more prosperous region for everyone.

  • The St. Louis Minority Business Council and St. Louis Regional Chamber Announces Operations Merger

    Nov 20, 2015

    The St. Louis Minority Business Council (SLMBC) and the St. Louis Regional Chamber have reached an agreement today to combine their operations into a new entity to help create a more inclusive and equitable St. Louis economy. The merger was officially announced today at the St. Louis American Foundation’s Salute to Excellence in Business Awards luncheon.

    The merger creates a new organization with a familiar and evermore important name – the St. Louis Minority Business Council, LLC.  The new SLMBC’s purpose is to “develop mutually beneficial business relationships between ethnic minority businesses and major buying organizations in the St. Louis bi-state metropolitan area.”

    The new St. Louis Minority Business Council will unveil more details about their strategies and programs at a celebration cocktail reception in their new offices with the Regional Chamber on Thursday, December 10 starting at 5:00 p.m. in the Regional Collaboration Center at the St. Louis Regional Chamber, 211 North Broadway, 13th Floor, St. Louis, MO 63102.

    The announcement comes at the end of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest celebration of innovators and entrepreneurs. “The global economy is about innovative and diverse solutions to complex problems and needs. We need everyone participating, “ said St. Louis Regional Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan. “Initiatives like Accelerate St. Louis and the St. Louis Minority Business Council help more St. Louis minority entrepreneurs compete in larger markets and make St. Louis more competitive in the global economy.”

    According to a recent report on the equity of the St. Louis region, racial economic disparities cost the St. Louis region $14 billion each year. As highlighted in the “Forward thru Ferguson” report, the St. Louis region also ranks 42 out of 50 for economic mobility. “Prosperity exists in the St. Louis region, but not for everyone. This shared reality is the inspiration behind our decision to join forces with the St. Louis Regional Chamber,” said St. Louis Minority Business Council President Edward Bryant, who continues as President of the new organization. 

    The new St. Louis Minority Business Council, powered by the St. Louis Regional Chamber, will identify, develop, and implement forward-thinking strategies to best support minority business enterprises as they build capacity, grow their wealth, and create more jobs. MBEs will have the professional community services of the Council combined with the resources, advocacy, and larger membership network of the Regional Chamber.

    “We are excited to work together through the new St. Louis Minority Business Council to make a St. Louis a more attractive place for people to live, work and invest,” said Suzanne Sitherwood, CEO of the Laclede Group and Chair of the Chamber’s Board.  “As one team, the Council can leverage the Chamber’s resources and the Chamber can fast forward its mission of inclusion by partnering with a well-known organization and helping it to grow.” 

    The merger creates a new entity, the St. Louis Minority Business Council, LLC, with its own board and governance, and will keep its physical, financial, and organizational home at the Regional Chamber. The new organization’s Board will be intentionally inclusive including local minority business owners, leaders from major sourcing/purchasing organizations, and leaders from organizations committed to helping minority owned businesses grow. To allow the new SLMBC Board to be razor-focused on providing programs and services for its minority-owned businesses and major sourcing organizations, the St. Louis Regional Chamber will handle the fiduciary responsibility for the Council.  Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Valerie Patton, the Chamber’s Vice President of Inclusion & Talent Attraction will join the Board of the new entity. Patton is the co-founder of the St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative, which is celebrating 10 years of leadership development for over 500 multi-cultural leaders. 

    To view the press release, click here.