By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Several of the small business assistance programs tied to the Knoxville Chamber and its Propel initiative were spotlighted during one of the final panels at last Friday’s “Governor’s Conference on Economic and Community Development.”
The session, moderated by Doug Minter, Director of Small Business Development at the Chamber, also featured local business leaders who have participated in those programs. They were:
- Walter Jamison III, Project Manager for B&B Services Inc.;
- Tanika Harper, Owner of Harper’s Naturals, a company previously spotlighted in this biz post;
- John Howard, Owner of Specialty Concrete Solutions; and
- Joshua Ayers, Owner of AyerWaves Entertainment.
In his introductory comments, Minter delivered a straightforward message.
“You need to combine all business support people in your area,” he said, citing programs like the recent “Paradigm Challenge” that was financially supported by a grant from Launch Tennessee and led by the Knoxville Area Urban League. It was supported by many other organizations including the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center, Knoxville Chamber and the Propel program, Tennessee Small Business Development Center, and Greater Knoxville SCORE chapter.
“We don’t have a formal organization,” Minter said. “We are a collaborative.”
He also emphasized the importance, as well as the value to the participants, of including small business owners from both urban and rural areas in programs like Propel.
“You can’t separate rural and urban today,” Minter explained, “so we combine them and make them work together.”