Newsday article featuring long island african american chamber of commerce


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Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. News

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Newsday article featuring long island african american chamber of commerce

  1. 1. BY CHRISTINE GIORDANO Special to Newsday T he Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce is working to increase the number of minority- owned businesses in the region, follow- ing a goal set by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to include minorities in 20 per- cent of state contracts, says president Phil Andrews. Founded two years ago, the chamber connects members with business and government leaders, helps owners obtain minority certification, and gives “the wider community an op- portunity to do business with a signifi- cant segment of the market,” he says. Meetings are publicized on Facebook; the next one is April 3. Andrews, 50, began his career work- ing by day for the New York City De- partment of Corrections and spending nights helping to build the Haircut Hut chain. The company grew to 10 stores before he retired; he now runs P.A. Pub- lic Relations Co. How does the chamber help cultivate business opportunities? We develop a relationship with the agencies and ask the procurement peo- ple to talk to us and tell us how we can do business with them. How does certifying a minority-owned business help? It makes them able to get contracts, but it also certifies that they’re in busi- ness and gets their paperwork in order. And decreases the likelihood that they won’t fulfill the contract. How are you trying to keep minorities from moving off Long Island? We see ourselves in the business of helping to make Long Island sustainable for the African-American community. Business growth, job creation, private-sec- tor opportunities and government con- tracting opportunities will slow down the rate of African-Americans relocating to other parts of the country. What else do you want to do? We want to be that vehicle for peo- ple who may not be in business, to cre- ate future businesses. We’re encourag- ing other ethnic groups to be part of the chamber. And we’re going to be working with the Hofstra Small Busi- ness Development Center on training in business skills like bookkeeping, marketing. Everyone wants to be in business, but you’ve got to learn the language of business first. What’s the key to staying in business and creating something viable here? I gave out scholarships, spoke at schools, had Kwanzaa events and art ex- hibits at my stores. So one of the keys is staying involved in your community. How did you build your business while working full time? I tried to have family or people that I really trusted as key managers. One of my best managers we ever had was my niece. Family [treats] the business like it’s theirs, and that’s hard to find. You also hired former inmates? When you open a business, you help somebody feed their family. That’s one of the greatest things you can do. STEVEPFOST LI BUSINESS EXECUTIVE SUITE NAME: Phil Andrews, president, Long Island African American Cham- ber of Commerce Inc. in Hempstead WHAT IT DOES: Provides business development opportunities, network- ing and help with minority business certification VOLUNTEERS: 35 2013 BUDGET: $75,000 Phil Andrews says one of the keys is to stay involved in your community. Helping minorities grow their businesses CORPORATE snapshot Too Busy to Manage Your Business Online? Let us help you get noticed. Contact a Digital Marketing Specialist today: • 631-843-2200 nnttaacctt aa DDiigg newsdayc aall MM nec eettiinngg SSppeecciiaalliisstt ttoodd com • 631-843-2200 cciiaalliisstt ttoo 631-84843 MKRE3X76B SUPPORT OR REGISTER TODAY: 516-873-0230 $75 full day ticket; $50 luncheon only #SLISustains Friday, April 4, 2014 8:00am to 2:00pm Carlyle on the Green at Bethpage State Park Featuring Keynote Speaker: Jon Kaiman Special Advisor on Superstorm Sandy Relief; Chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority Special Presentation of the “Getting It Done” Lifetime Achievement Award to Amy Hagedorn Philanthropist and Sustainable Long Island Founder A31 LIBUSINESSnewsday.comNEWSDAY,MONDAY,MARCH17,2014