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.