The Mississippi Minority Business Alliance (MMBA) was formed in 1997 to foster relationships between minority businesses and corporations, governmental agencies and educational institutions. Its mission is to open the door of opportunity by bringing these entities together. One way members achieve that goal is with an annual business trade show and awards gala. The fifth such event takes place October 28 at the Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi.
The event is open to the public but reservations must be made for the gala, which begins at 7 p.m. The trade show hours are from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“We encourage everyone to attend and we open our arms to the public,” said MMBA’s board of directors chair DeJonnette King. “We want to create awareness of these businesses to all of the community and bring them together. Plus, it will be an enjoyable time.”
Susan L. Taylor, editorial director of Essence magazine, will be the keynote speaker at the awards gala. Taylor is the driving force behind one of the most celebrated African American-owned business success stories of the past three decades. She directs all editorial operations of the magazine and writes the popular “In the Spirit” column each month. She also oversees the content of all divisions of the multimedia organization and is currently launching a new magazine for the company. Additionally, Taylor works to develop new businesses and expand Essence’s global reach.
Some of the diverse minority businesses exhibiting at the trade show are:
• Advanced Environmental Consultants
• Mississippi Products (medical, office and sanitary supplies)
• B.R. Norman (custom made drapes)
• Video Magic One
• AAP Staff services (temporary help)
• IMS Civil Engineers
• Mid Delta Health Services (home and hospice care)
• Premiere Shredding (works a lot with banks); and,
• A Balloon Basket (unique gifts, party and wedding decorations).
“These are just a few of the businesses exhibiting and represent the variety of our members,” King said. “Our mission is to bring together mutual rewarding relationships. Corporations are interested in untapped sources so it’s a win-win situation for both.”
A few of the corporations exhibiting include Caesar’s Entertainment, Beau Rivage Casino Resort, Chevron Texaco and Entergy. King said there will be others and that there will be a nice mix of corporations and businesses.
The highlight of the gala will be the presentation of Outstanding Minority Business Awards for 2004. The four winners were selected from around the state by a committee looking for businesses that are not only successful but who also give back to their communities, King said.
“These are outstanding businesses that complement our organization,” she added.
The winners are:
• Video Magic One, Northeast Region
• Mid Delta Health Services, Delta Region
• IMS Engineers Inc., Central Region
• The Wynning Experience, Gulf Coast/Southern Region.
The MMBA, with 140 member businesses statewide, is making inroads that businesses might not otherwise have the opportunity to make, King said. “It’s not about being minority businesses but having the opportunity to show what your business can do,” she said.
“We’re fostering a strong, diverse economic environment as we promote minority businesses and thrust them into the mainstream of commerce in Mississippi,” said King.
She added that MMBA is interested in building relationships between businesses and corporations that have certain ethics and high standards. “They must have integrity and be a business that plans to be around tomorrow,” she said.
“We believe that MMBA will continue to act as a catalyst in fostering a stronger, more equitable economic climate within the state.”
King, who owns Advanced Environmental Consultants, serves on MMBA’s board of directors with the following business leaders: Carmen Davis, Entergy; William Johnnie, MCI; Rueben Smith, Reuben L. Smith & Associates; Regina Austin, AmSouth Bank; Gerard Hankins, Trustmark National Bank; Dr. William Cooley, Systems Consultants Associates; Joe Weaver, Central Mississippi Methodist; Loni Osborne, Chevron Texaco; Chandra Calhoun, Jackson Municipal Airport Authority; Gerald Scruggs, Materials Containment; Steve Williams, Mississippi Power Company; Dorothy Roseburgh, Rose Cleaning Service; Talmadge Portis, Jr., Tal-Port Industries; and Jean and Jonathan Lee, Mississippi Products.
For more information, please call DeJonnette King at (601) 362-1788.
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at email@example.com.