Tallahassee, FL - Florida now has a chamber focused on uplifting and helping black businesses around the state. On February 1st, 2022, to kick off Black History Month, the Florida Association of Black Chambers of Commerce hosted its first Black Chamber Day at the Capitol to advocate for resources for black chambers and black businesses.
Twelve chambers, from Pensacola all the way down to Miami, united to take this first collective step together. Black Chamber Day featured a press conference and meetings with Representatives and Senators to present the group’s Legislative Agenda.
At the press conference, the Founder of the Florida Association of Black Chamber of Commerce, Shaheewa Jarrett Gelin, shared, “We are here to advocate for state policies and laws that will remove barriers for our local businesses and unlock resources that will create ecosystems for our businesses to thrive.”
Although the pandemic has caused serious setbacks for black business owners, according to a study, Florida has the third highest number of African-American entrepreneurs in the nation and Kaufman Foundation reported that African-Americans between the ages of 24 - 35 are 50% more likely to engage in entrepreneurial activities. The Florida Association of Black Chambers of Commerce plans to engage the process to ensure that our entrepreneurs are met with fertile ground so that they can continue to contribute to job growth and have an even larger economic impact.
Mrs. Gelin reminded the crowd that, “In this time, equity must be at the forefront of the State’s economic agenda. By supporting small, black businesses, we can create jobs and a stronger economy for all Floridians. Our communities are tied to the progression and success of this state.”
The following chambers participated in the Black Chamber Day at the Capitol: African-American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce of Florida, Black Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach, Broward County Black Chamber of Commerce, Capital City Chamber of Commerce, Greater First Coast Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast Minority Chamber of Commerce, Jacksonville Black Chamber of Commerce, Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce, Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, Treasure Coast Black Chamber of Commerce, and the South Florida Black Chamber.
The organization plans to make Black Chamber Day an annual event of advocacy in action.