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More than 100 firms to display at organization

Minority Business Alliance plans June 21 expo

JACKSON — More than 100 exhibitors and 200 to 300 attendees are expected at the first trade show of the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance (MMBA).

The shows’ theme is Emerging Partnerships to Greater Dimension. The event, which will be held June 21 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Trade Mart in Jackson, will expose Mississippians to a number of minority suppliers of goods and services. Organizers say its mission is to show the capability of minority businesses and forge new relationships between minority businesses and large private and nonprofit organizations.

DeJonnette Grantham-King, president of Advanced Environmental Consultants Inc., is one of the exhibitors.

“We’re trying to form a partnership with corporations,” Grantham-King said.

Grantham-King said the event is a win-win for exhibitors as well as for the corporations that will be attending. Exhibitors will also have the chance to talk to the Secretary of State’s office, as well as the Food and Drug Administration.

“It’s really a one-stop shop,” Grantham-King said. “We’re hoping that we’re going to have a lot of people come out and see it. I think they’ll really be in for a treat.”

Carmen Davis, manager of supplier diversity for the Mississippi area of Entergy, is Entergy’s representative for the MMBA and chair of the MMBA board of directors. Davis said the MMBA special event is important to the state’s overall economy.

“We believe small businesses — minority businesses in particular — have not traditionally gained access to corporations and governmental entities in terms of accessing their contract opportunities and the like,” Davis said. “Hopefully this will be one small step toward bridging the gap there and affording these businesses the opportunity to grow some. We believe it will impact the state’s overall economy more positively.”

With more than 100 firms on display, the trade show will provide a bird’s eye view of minority businesses in Mississippi. At the same time, minority businesses will be able to see firsthand the support services of some nonprofit organizations, including the Minority Capital Fund, the Small Business Administration and others.

Sponsors include the more than 100 minority businesses on display, as well as Chevron, WorldCom, Jackson Municipal Airport Authority and Entergy.

MMBA is a statewide nonprofit consortium consisting of area minority business enterprises, large corporations and nonprofit institutions. The organization serves a mutuality of interests in that minority business enterprises serve additional market outlets through the large entities and the large entities enjoy the benefit of additional suppliers.

Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at ekirkland@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1042.

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