Black Chamber will gather in Baltimore on Thursday Donahue to keynote 4-day convention; Conventions


More than 700 business professionals from across the country are expected next week to attend the sixth annual National Black Chamber of Commerce con- vention in Baltimore. The convention will run July 9 through July 12 at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel.

Washington businessman Harry Alford and his colleague, Kay DeBow, founded the organization in 1993 to promote development of black entrepreneurship and businesses in general.

The organization represents more than 62,000 businesses nationwide.

Thomas J. Donahue, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will be the keynote speaker.

Alford said Donahue's participation in the convention will help forge an alliance between the national chamber and NBCC.

"This represents the start of a relationship which will bring the U.S. Chamber and our organization together to achieve the goal of supporting the success of black businesses around the country," Alford said.

This year's theme is "The changing face of entrepreneurship," and the Small Business Administration's new commitment to black businesses is what NBCC officials say helps drive the spirit of the theme home.

Last month, the SBA pledged it would quadruple the loans it makes available to African-American start-up and existing companies in the next two years.

Last year, the SBA backed 1,902 loans totaling $28.6 million to African-American businesses nationwide.

O. J. Phillips, director of business development for SBA's Baltimore district, said the ideal figure for loans to blacks at the turn of the century will be $588 million.

"In Baltimore, the goal for 1998 is at least 61 loans to minority business interests," Phillips said. "We are putting emphasis on assisting the under-served sectors. This includes blacks, Hispanics and women."

SBA Administrator Aida Alvarez will also speak at the convention.

A tribute dinner in honor of former U.S. Rep. Parren J. Mitchell, in whose name a business center in West Baltimore is being built, will be held July 10.

The NBCC has 175 affiliates and chapters throughout the United States.

Pub Date: 7/03/98

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