Business West Edition

Local organizations provide assistance to black businesses

LOS ANGELES — National Black Business Month celebrates black-owned business throughout the month of August. During the month, consumers are encouraged to visit businesses owned by African Americans.

To advocate for those owners, there are a plethora of chambers and associations that assist in their growth and development. The Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAACC) was established by a group of business owners and executives in 1991. Led by Gene Hale, president of G&C Equipment Corporation, and the late Homer Broome, president of Marvid Associates, GLAAACC began with a $5,000 grant from Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

The chamber has consistently been active in its support of African-American businesses and provides a selection of programs and services to contribute in their development. Walter Hill, chariman and CEO of Icon Blue, who now serves on GLAAACC’s board, can vouch for the chamber’s ability to provide resources and support in the progress of his company.

“The political issues that GLAAACC supports benefit all African-American businesses,” Hill said. “Exposure to the business and political sector in L.A. have led to opportunities for our business growth.”

Hill says that the benefit of sharing their success methods with other up-and-coming businesses is gratifying.

“The direct business introductions we have made through GLAAACC have resulted in lucrative business opportunities over the years,” he said.

GLAAACC also created an education fund that provides scholarships for graduating high school students who wish to pursue a degree in business or a related field. The success of fund is visible as it has awarded more than $150,000 over the past years to students from three or four inner-city schools. The chamber also donates toys during the holidays to the Parents of Watts, a community service program that assists low-income families in need and gives turkeys to parents of children in South Los Angeles.

The Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce is another organization that is committed to the economic growth of its community. The chamber is devoted to the development of the Crenshaw Corridor as an environment that attracts investment, tourism and pride.

The Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce provides access to technical assistance, networking, support and training to new and small businesses. The chamber sustains relationships with other chambers, businesses and residents in the community to develop a partnership.

The Black Business Association also advocates for African-American businesses. The nonprofit organization is responsible for the cultivation of thousands of African-American owned businesses and has access and influence to more than 100,000 African-America and women and minority-owned firms.

The BBA maintains working relationships with elected and appointed officials to support the progress of African-American businesses. This association provides training for entrepreneurial professional development, encourages and generates access to market opportunities and capital, identifying and creating financial opportunities for African-American owned businesses, and develops coalitions that advocate their political endeavors to achieve public recognition and political influence for these businesses.

African-American business owners are encouraged to research these three organizations if they are seeking support and help with professional development and economic and financial growth.

More information on all three can be found online at, http.// or http.//