BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — Operating a small business or looking to start one can be a challenge, and the Bryan- College Station Chamber of Commerce is holding its first minority small business forum to offer educational resources to the minority community.
The community outreach committee is looking to expand its reach to minority business owners in the area.
“I think this would be a great event to come for someone that’s thinking about starting a business,” said Glen Brewer, President/CEO, BCS Chamber of Commerce. “There’s going to be information there how to incorporate, the legal documents that you need, as far as the HR issues that you’re going to have if you need to have employees, banking relationships.”
Amelia McCracken is a small business owner and serving on the panel tonight to help others as they navigate their business.
“I hire college students to help them build their portfolios and so they can gain hands-on experience before they graduate,” said Amelia McCracken, owner of Ment Marketing & Creative Services.
McCracken has been in business almost four years and with her services being offered remote, she serves nearly 15 states.
“We do web design,” said McCracken. “We do graphic design, social media management, advertising, SEO, pretty much anything that can help businesses grow and get started.”
Brewer says this event is not only catered to business owners but those interested in starting one.
“Information that they want to learn about growing your business, come out and meet people that are just like you,” said Brewer. “Network with them, learn from their experiences, and learn from all the resources the Chamber has to offer.”
Jason Cornelius is the chairperson for the Community Outreach Committee with the Chamber and planned this forum for months to help answer questions of minority business owners.
“We’ve also heard from a lot our smaller businesses that there was some information that they needed,” said Cornelius. “This was an opportunity for us to put together a panel of experts to bring that information to the community.”
Mike Espitia owns Gold Star Barber Studio and says before opening his own shop, he struggled being a minority cutting hair.
“Trying to gain people’s trust being the new guy in the shop was really hard, and being a Hispanic in the shop, my biggest questions was always ‘can you cut your hair?’ I was just like yeah I can cut, come on man,” said Mike Espitia, Owner, Gold Star Barber Studio.
Now, Espitia has owned gold star barber studio for seven years and has expanded into various locations.
He says when he first went to a chamber event, he did not feel like he belonged but gave it another shot and had a better outcome.
Now, he’s looking forward to connecting with other business leaders tonight.
“It was more minorities there,” said Espitia. “It was more younger people there. That’s what was good about it because if you really look at business owners now, most of them are minorities and most of them are younger.”
Cornelius says over 120 people have signed up for tonight’s forum to receive educational resources on business growth.
“We’ll also have over 22 booths that are there that will have information for people as well,” said Cornelius. “Again, banking, HR, and a bunch of other different aspects that you’ll be able to find.”
He says this event will help serve the community and offer information that hasn’t been easily accessible to minorities.
“Information to help either build or grow your business that you have here,” said Cornelius. “That is what the chamber has been about, will continue to be about, so we’re just trying to get this information out to community members that may not always have access to it.”
He says this is what the chamber is all about, serving the community.
The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Brazos Valley.
You still have time to RSVP to attend tonight’s event here.