This week: Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce (LIAACC)
This week we spent a few minutes with Mr. Phil Andrews, President of the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (LIAACC).
Phil Andrews is a native of Hempstead Long Island who was recently recruited and then elected President of what may very well someday be the largest African American Chamber of Commerce in the country.
This six year old business association represents the historically proper geographic long island which is made up of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties and is seeking to expand its service territory throughout the state.
The chambers en-catchment area includes over 50,000 potential small to mid-sized owned and operated African American businesses. The largest concentrations of African Americans in the country are located in its current service territory.
Question: We asked Phil why a African American chamber was needed?
Response: First there are no viable initiatives that encourage the training, if you will, of African Americans to do business with each on in such a large and wealthy trade zone. Secondly, yet just as important, we must realize that the African American community is a viable market for business. Every day we buy a lot of products and services in the marketplace and people always ask where is our marketplace and how can we do business with the African American Community. We need a place where we can encourage our business owners to not only do business with our communities, but to also do business with other businesses s in the community including non-profits, professionals, small business owners and churches. All entities have to spend money and trade services in order to operate in America.
Question: What kind of a difference do you think the chamber will make by being a Long Island Chamber as oppose to just being a Nassau County or Suffolk County Chamber?
Response: Long Island has the demographics and economic buying power necessary to be the kind of platform that can make a difference when it comes to economic empowerment. As a chamber we can better manage information, connect resources and advocate for our members and positively impacts our membership and thereby our communities. Time and time again we hear of government programs and various private sector initiatives set out by major corporations that offer opportunities specific to minority businesses and there is no one to guaranty that the word gets out to our community nor are there a sufficient number of advocates who are willing to hold people and entities such as these accountable and responsible for the delivery of these benefits.
Additionally the economic base of the communities the chamber serves is strong and vibrant. In addition to the fact, I mentioned earlier, that the number of minority or Black owned businesses in Brooklyn alone makes it the largest area with Black owned businesses trade zone in the country and with the addition of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk our encatchment area is certainly one of the largest if not the largest of its kind in the country.
So for example if there was an occasion where some major initiative launched by the federal government or a fortune 100 company that would impact black businesses the chamber would be that organization, that they would want to meet with and talk to make sure the word got out.
This organization as it builds its membership numbers, will be able to offer its members, both big and small the opportunity to dispel assumptions not fact; that major public or privately owned businesses such as school districts, hospitals, contracting entities cannot find viable Black owned businesses in this region.
Particular attention will be paid to local agencies and government entities who who receive large government contracts with mandates to do business with minority women business enterprises through the government’s mandates of 30% set asides for minorities. They will no longer be able to say they do not know where to go to find us and we don’t have qualified small business owners who can perform the job.
Question: What kind of events are you planning to get the word out about the chamber?
Response: One of the things we consistently do is host a monthly General Membership meeting monthly, we have hosted meeting at the Freeport Public Library, NYCB Theatre of Westbury, Theodore Roosevelt Legislative & Executive Building, Baldwin Library, and Suffolk County Dennison Building and a host of other meeting location, where everyone was welcomed. Periodically we look to host conferences to bring business owners together for much needed capacity training to strengthen our member’s ability to grow their businesses to the next level and the community an opportunity to bring quality small business services to the grassroots level of our community.
Our recent meeting brought a major employment agency for a presentation to show how they could meet the needs of our small business owners seeking quality workers and also could provide employment opportunities to those having particular skills set and mindset to work for a top notch agency.
We host an annual countywide Black History Month Art Exhibition, an Annual Toy Drive, an Annual Back to School efforts and are looking to plan a Job and Business Expo’s to encompass the four counties that we serve.
One of the more unique initiatives we have been engaged in is, small business capacity building, MWBE Certification, and Advocacy.
We recognize that many of our members and local business owners are concerned about growth; growth in the local economy, growth in their businesses and adding value to their businesses so we offer training in various areas of business management, business development, business planning and entrepreneurship.
Final Question: Is there room for the Black Church in this economic engine you are creating?
Response: Most definitely! We believe that there are many entrepreneurs in the church and that the church itself is a business. We believe we must work with local churches to create synergies for disseminating information either through workshops or providing training’s to farther build up our community’s economic strength. The Black church is long been considered the community’s first business and one of our most enduring institutions in our community and we want to work closely with it to make sure both we and it continue to survive in these troubled economic times. The churches endorsement of economic development outside of its walls will be a key influencer’s in movement the economic agenda forward and will be a windfall for an organization such as our chamber of commerce.
Phil Andrews is a seasoned Public Relations Consultant and Community Activist. He has been an independent business owner in the region for almost 30 years. Phil helped to found the Hair Cut Hut Long Island’s first Barber Shop Franchise which was headquartered in Nassau County with over 10 shops throughout NYC and Long Island. He has consulted in the field of Public Relations and business networking for more than 20 years and has served at the board level of many local non-profit organizations over the years including the One Hundred Black Men of Long Island, Inc., Interfaith Nutrition Network, Roosevelt Chamber of Commerce, and the West Indian Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Andrews recently appeared on “WABC Here and Now” and NBC longest running public access show “NBC Positively Black”. He is also a regular blogger for the Huffington Post.
African American Chambers of Commerce Vital to Rebuild Black America Nationally
Phil Andrews a Leader, Advocate, Business Leader, Thought Leader, Community Activist, Chamber President
Black Businesses are growing nationally in the Black Community, and African American Chambers Commerce across the nation are at the forefront of building America’s next movement. Black Business organizations have their roots in the National Black Business League founded in 1900 founded by Dr. Booker T. Washington. The National Black Business League founded by Dr. Booker T. Washington predates the U.S. Chamber of Commerce by twelve years.
In 2010 the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. a regional Chamber of Commerce in New York was founded by its Founder, John L. Scott. The Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce is currently rebuilding the social fabric in its region to strengthen trade, provide access to capital, advocate on behalf of small business owner, and provide resources to Black Business Owners.
U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. is doing a marvelous job supporting African American Chambers throughout America by providing top notch training at its USBC School of Chamber & Business Management.
The above chamber’s models needs to be duplicated throughout Black America.
Many of the social ills in society can be solved by raising the level of economic parity in society. It is said that economics affect every area of a person’s life.
Black business matters, and so does viable business organizations such as local chambers of commerce. It is a well-known fact that chambers of commerce in local communities are comprised of some of the most connected individuals in their regions across the nation.
The civil rights movement has certainly impacted and created change across a wide segment of the American Population. Economic parity remains a lofty goal across America and local chambers of commerce are gearing up to help small business owners in their respective communities become viable by increased capacity building, access to capital, advocacy, technical assistance and providing a network of support.
As evidence of this pattern recent statistics show that African American women business owners are leading the pack as one of the fastest growing business segments in America.
Follow Phil Andrews on Twitter: www.twitter.com/
Repost of a Huffington Post Blog dated March 28, 2016
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Our Mission: The Long Island Economic Journal is dedicated to facilitating the return of the Black Church to its proper position as the and/or as a key economic engine in the local community that is sorely needed by the generations to come.
With that in mind our lead columnist has embarked on developing a wireless platform that will host quarterly community based economic development forums that will inform and foster business opportunities to this end. The way it will work is each week a general query will be posted in this column seeking community input from both residents and leadership. Then based on the responses a free online webinar and telephone conference will be scheduled to share the responses, comments or any follow up feedback received. Then all of this information will be analyzed, researched and represented at an annual Economic Empowerment Conference to be used in establishing an Agenda for Economic Empowerment through community efforts, collaborations and or joint venture support from local church leadership that might take the lead in bringing selected ideas to fruition. This approach will create jobs, small businesses and business opportunities between church and community that we believe will have a positive impact on our economic base. The only foreseeable cost to this effort at this time is a sincere effort. For if we take as much time concerning ourselves with helping restore and repair the ourselves many of our individual problems and concerns will work themselves out. Remember your responses to our weekly questions will make a difference. Let’s work together for the betterment of our good. God Bless!