The Silicon Valley Black Chamber of Commerce (SVBCC) promotes diversity and opportunity for African American and minority businesses. Local businessman Ron McPherson, who served as president for ten years, founded the organization in 1989. The current leader, Carl Davis, Jr. was its first executive director in 1990.
As president of the SVBCC, Davis seeks to increase the number of successful minority businesses, especially African American businesses, in Silicon Valley while developing a pipeline of future entrepreneurs through better education.
“The Silicon Valley Black Chamber of Commerce is more than an organization for just businesses, it’s an integral part of the economic development fiber of our community,” said Davis. “When we speak of economic development we mean more than entrepreneurship, we mean job creation and money flowing within our communities for a sustainable environment.
Membership is open to all business owners, individuals, groups, seniors, youth, and associations that support the organization’s mission,” he said.
Through workshops, training and seminars, the SVBCC provides businesses with resources to start, run and sustain their businesses. Davis also says the SVBCC helps business owners learn about certifications in order to do business with the federal, regional and local governments as a contractor.
“We advocate for African Americans and minority-owned businesses, vendors and contractors to secure lucrative business opportunities and compete on the playing field,” added Davis.
Through their eMobile Solution, Davis says members have the ability to connect B2B and B2C clients and customers that enhance the promotion, advertisement and selling of products and services.
“We are committed to using both traditional and innovative strategies to empower our community and overcome historical business and financial obstacles, such as access to capital, capacity building and getting our share of contracts,” said Davis.
In 2001, the chamber created the Center for Entrepreneurial Development to serve the community through its educational programs and incubator project.
Through Next Gen, the chamber provides business and financial literacy skills to high school students. Some of Next Gen’s participants have visited President Barack Obama and won national honors in entrepreneurship programs like, National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, NFTE, and Junior Achievement, JA.
Two expanded programs include, “It takes a Village with STEM” and “Intern to Perm.” The programs are designed to engage youth as early as first grade and on to STEM-related projects with professionals in STEM as college age students.
“Being connected through teaching, mentoring or just connecting these students is the way the dropout rate for youth of color will definitely decline.” said Davis.
The chamber has also worked to establish partnerships beyond finance and business by providing outreach, education and enrollment for Covered California.
“Economic health is important but physical health is essential and through our networks, we have the ability to reach the community,” said Davis.
SVBCC’s annual events include Blacks N Business, Black N Technology and the Silicon Valley Black Youth Hack-a-Thon.
For more information, visit www.blackchamber.com