Black & Diverse Business Forum Brings Out Dozens of Local Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
Rep. Gina H. Curry March 2, 2022 | 3:48 PM
SPRINGFIELD, PA (March 1) – Senator Tim Kearney and state Rep. Gina H. Curry on Saturday hosted a Black & Diverse Business Forum at Delaware County Community College that brought out over two dozen local entrepreneurs and small business owners looking to grow their businesses.
Held in the college’s STEM building, the presentation portion of the event kicked off just after 9:00 a.m., in the auditorium with a welcome from Anthony Twyman, Delaware County Community College Director of Government & Public Relations, followed by opening remarks from Senator Kearney and Rep. Curry.
Both elected officials, who represent some of the same areas in Delaware County, wanted to create an event during Black History Month that had a meaningful impact on the community.
“When people think about Black History Month, they often focus on recognizing the past accomplishments of notable African Americans,” said Senator Kearney. “I also believe you can celebrate Black history by supporting the great work black and diverse people are doing in local communities. This event gave entrepreneurs and small business owners the chance to feel supported by providing them with much-needed resources from experts and networking opportunities with reputable companies interested in contracting with black and diverse businesses.”
“As Black History Month 2022 concludes, I had the honor of partnering with Senator Kearney to highlight the importance of recognizing the impact of black and diverse entrepreneurs and small businesses at this groundbreaking event for Delaware County,” stated Rep. Curry. “I am encouraged by the resources and networking available in the state of Pennsylvania, as we continue to build, improve, and enrich communities through increased economic development.”
After opening remarks, Kerry Kirkland, Pennsylvania Department of General Services Deputy Secretary for Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities, delivered the keynote address. Kirkland, who also served as the former Vice President of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, offered attendees spirited words of encouragement while emphasizing the importance of small businesses to the economy.
“I implore all small diverse businesses to become state-certified and take advantage of the vast opportunities to do business with the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Kirkland. “As I work to advocate for better policies to support diverse businesses, it’s imperative that diverse business owners call their state legislators and urge them to support Senate Bill 900, which codifies small and small diverse business programs.”
The presentation portion of the Forum also featured three panel-style informational sessions, with speakers from various industries offering attendees different resources and tips needed to grow their business.”
Panel 1 highlighted the basics of entrepreneurship and included advice from experts with SCORE, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, and the African American Chamber of Commerce. Panel 2 focused on certifications. Panelists included representatives from Eastern Minority Development Council, COSTARS, and the Widener Small Business Development Center. Panel 3 was comprised of experts from Entrepreneur Works, TruMark Financial Credit Union, and the Delaware County Workforce Development Board—all offering attendees guidance on accessing capital.
To end the presentations, dozens of companies interested in contracting with black and minority businesses took part in a round-robin style segment—offering attendees an overview of their company and general advice on contracting opportunities.
Concluding the presentations, attendees were invited to the building’s Atrium to network with businesses at informational tables lined along the perimeter of the room.
Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback, Senator Kearney and Rep. Curry have decided to make the Black & Diverse Business Forum an annual event to take place during Black History Month. Additional conversations have also begun to host similar forums in the next coming months.