Minority chambers start working on collective economic equity plan

Tuesday April 19th, 2022 by Chad Swiatecki

The four minority chambers of commerce that have worked together for years are moving forward with the creation of a five-year plan to ensure growth in Austin does not bypass minority-owned small businesses.

The LGBT Chamber of Austin, Asian Chamber of Greater Austin, Black Chamber of Greater Austin, and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Austin – which previously worked together as the Multi-Ethnic Chamber Alliance – have been renamed Diversity and Ethnic Chamber Alliance. Together, they will produce the first regional Equitable Economic Development (REED) plan as part of a recently passed adjustment to the funding the city provides to each group.

The REED plan will address the needs of different constituencies around issues such as transportation, economic access, child care and other considerations that come into play in talks with key job creators entering the market. hot from Austin. Another important issue is the increase in opportunities around supply and service contracts for small businesses, which can be fulfilled in accordance with the business objectives of minority and women-owned businesses.

Tina Cannon, president and CEO of the Austin LGBT Chamber, said the REED plan will be more meaningful in terms of economic impact than individual contracts and deliverables promised to the city under its annual funding for each group. The plan is expected to be completed in early 2023.

“The goal is for Minority Chambers to work with all public and private job creators over the next year to help us implement these community values, and then help us to globally measure how we we come out of it,” Cannon said. “Some basic measures for that would be to look at the number of minority-owned businesses because that’s a number that we can measure based on what’s already been established… those are things that the community needs to rally around to ensure there is prosperity for everyone.

Cannon said improved sourcing opportunities for minority businesses can lead to rapid expansion in hiring and purchases of capital goods equipment, creating additional economic benefits across the region. ‘Austin.

This kind of targeted growth is needed, she said, because of the rising cost of living and housing prices in the area, which have pushed the median price of single-family homes over $500,000. “Austin is at a tipping point when it comes to our local businesses and similarly we are at a tipping point with minority-owned businesses,” she said. “We can’t wake up 10 years from now and say we should have done more to help our various minority businesses sustain themselves.”

Each group will continue to operate as a separate entity while working together and engaging earlier in talks with the Department of Economic Development and other city entities on issues of interest to the DECA group.

Fang Fang, president and CEO of the Asian Chamber of Greater Austin, said issues such as the fragmentation of the region’s rapidly growing Asian population will remain important as he works with the other DECA chambers on common concerns (about 20 nationalities come under the jurisdiction of the chamber) .

Fang said she wanted to make better data available to city council and other political leaders on the specific dynamics of Asian-owned businesses, and find ways to educate business owners about local resources at their provision.

“There is currently a severe lack of data to guide these policymakers in their actions that could help our community, so we need to raise awareness and get people to see us as not monolithic,” she said. . “This is a platform to extend the invitation through our regional partners to reach out to the public and private sectors and get involved so that we can share ideas and resources to show them how they can be part of this plan.”

Photo made available through a Creative Commons license.

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