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Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce: building strong members and businesses

The Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce’s (CSDBCC) strives to create generational wealth through business enterprise, education, employment and investments. “The goal is to really focus on building strong black businesses and strong chamber members,” says CSDBCC President Dr. Steven Jones. “Strong members make a strong Chamber.”

For business owners, CSDBCC’s goal is to help members learn how to run a successful business, grow their business, find more clients and develop and deliver their brand. But not all CSDBCC members own their own businesses — many are individuals who look to CSDBCC to become more knowledgeable, increase their personal network and move up in organizations. “Generational wealth gets created not only by owning businesses, but also by career advancement and investing,” says Dr. Jones.

SDWP CEO Peter Callstrom joined a CSDBCC discussion on inclusive economic development in July. One of CSDBCC’s core tenants, inclusive economic development is a high-growth strategy for San Diego including the urban community and diverse businesses throughout the region. CSDBCC has developed strategic relationships with industry, government, educational and faith-based organizations to make this vision a reality.

On February 7 Council President Myrtle Cole made a proclamation highlighting CSDBCC’s commitment to advancing Black-owned businesses; educating, engaging, and empowering Black professionals, residents, and youth; providing diverse talent to corporations, universities, and K-12 schools throughout San Diego County; and promoting inclusive economic development and equal opportunity in San Diego’s growing economy.

CSDBCC also invests in youth — awarding scholarships to four students at their annual gala each year and hiring through CONNECT2Career’s School Break Externship Program. Three externs have been given short-term work opportunities at CSDBCC with another scheduled to extern this spring. Students learn about business development, career development and project management through their experience supporting CSDBCC members.

CSDBCC is launching two new programs in 2017 — Business Bytes and Business in the Black. The former is geared toward millennials, offering a networking event for young professionals complete with a guest speaker and DJ. Business Bytes will occur the 4th Wednesday of every month. This first event is scheduled on February 22 at Quad Ale House on 5th street in the Gaslamp District. Business in the Black will convene half a dozen chamber members who are entrepreneurs operating their own business. The monthly gatherings will be a place to share successes and challenges, exchange best practices, coach one other and hear from subject matter experts.

What Dr. Jones wants people to understand most is that CSDBCC is a diverse group of members from across the county — representing people from many backgrounds from Escondido to Eastlake as well as Southeast San Diego. Their newly-formed Executive Leadership Team has brought a renewed sense of energy to everything CSDBCC is doing. “People are energized, the community is energized and we are just really excited about strengthening the entire business community in San Diego,” says Dr. Jones.

For more information, visit sdblackchamber.org.

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