Florida Microbusiness Conference Offers “Main Street” Entrepreneurs Tools to Thrive

(OCALA, FL)  -- On Saturday, The Florida State Conference of the NAACP, RAISE Florida Network, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, and the National Office of the NAACP launched the first in a series of three minority microbusiness summits in Ocala.  The microbusiness conference is tailored for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs seeking to start a business, improve business performance or access capital.

“The microbusiness industry has tremendous value to the U.S. economy. In fact, AEO’s research shows that if one in three Main Street microbusinesses hired just one employee, the country would reach full employment,” says Connie Evans, president and CEO of Association for Enterprise Opportunity, one of the conference hosts.

“This summit will highlight the power of microbusinesses and also help to equip Florida’s Main Street microbusiness owners, and aspiring business owners, for viability and growth. That’s why it is critical that entrepreneurs across the state get the capital and services they need so that jobs and the American Dream are within their reach,” Evans says.

The conference featured entrepreneurs from the region and leaders from advocacy organizations, including  Elgin Carelock, CEO, re-View Business Strategies; Oscar B. Brown, President, DROP Retirement Planner,Inc.; Edna Turner-DeGeneste, Owner, Unique Lingerie, Inc .; Kimberly Pompey, Owner, GAP Productions Performing Arts; and Dorcas Gilmore, an attorney with the National NAACP.

"Unemployment rates in communities of color are staggering. The NAACP is committed to an economic justice agenda that combats joblessness through microbusiness development," says Dorcas R. Gilmore, Assistant General Counsel for the National NAACP.

Gilmore, whose role focuses on the pursuit of equity in jobs, business and housing, says economic justice is core to the NAACP's mission. "Ensuring economic justice in communities of color requires a focus on jobs and also microbusinesses—microbusinesses are the engines that create jobs," Gilmore says.

This powerful event was in collaboration with the Marion County Branch of the NAACP and the Greater Ocala Community Development Corporation.

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Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities.  You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.

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