All About the Mission - May 17
For anyone who knows me, they know I am a big fan of data. That’s why when we welcome new members to the Chamber, we offer the opportunity for them to self-identify demographic information that will help us serve them better. Every small business is unique depending on the owner’s background, programming interests and where they are geographically located.
We have a special report in our membership system that can tell us a variety of demographic data points. So, I ran a report to provide me with the percentage of new members joining the chamber this year that were women-owned, veteran-owned or minority-owned or any combination of these data points. In reviewing the data, 49% of new members joining this year are in this category. More specifically, 53% of these members are women-owned, 30% are minority-owned and 17% are veteran-owned.
It is truly exciting to see the numbers of new entrepreneurs joining the Chamber and more to the point, the number of people taking the risk to start a business. Often referred to as the Great Reshuffle, many people reevaluated their priorities over the last two years and Georgia saw the largest filings of new businesses ever in 2021. If our local economy is to benefit from this ground swell of new small business owners and the innovation they bring to the table, we must as a Chamber, be ready with all of the programs and services we can muster to ensure their success.
Fortunately, we have a great track record in niche programs for small businesses. The Small Business Marketing Academy launched in 2016 has seen nearly 300 business owners and marketing professionals earn the graduate credential requiring 36 hours over 6 months of learning about every aspect of marketing. In fact, our next cohort will begin the program in July and applications are now available.
Small businesses site marketing and lack of capital as two of the biggest hurdles. With the launch of our Level Up Business Academy in January of this year, we will have 15 graduates of that program in June who have also mastered over 36 hours over 6 months on topics such as business plans, access to capital, succession planning, forming advisory boards and best practices on many other topics.
To all of our small business members who are carving out their dream every day, we say thank you for your partnership with the Chamber. Your success is all about our mission.