Indianapolis' Black Expo
Minority business 'essential' for Indianapolis development, Mayor Ballard says
July 13, 2015
Minority business is an essential factor for community development. That’s the message Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard had for the nearly 400 business executives, employees, and entrepreneurs who attended Indiana Black Expo’s annual Mayors’ Breakfast.
The event, held July 13 in the Indiana Convention Center, kicked off the business development day for IBE’s Summer Celebration.
“We have built a city that is better connected than our outer city counterparts, but there is still much work to be done.” Mayor Ballard said.
Hosted by WRTV-6’s Ericka Flye and Mark Mullins, the breakfast featured speeches from IBE president Tanya Bell, director of the Department of Minority and Women Business Development Gregory Wilson, and Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard whose speeches focused on minority-owned businesses and their impact on the community.
The yearly event offers a chance for small businesses to gain exposure from corporate sponsors, said Alice Watson, vice-president of Administration for IBE
“Small businesses are little engines,” she said. “Exposure is extremely valuable. It gives small businesses a chance to interact in the corporate world.”
Mayor Ballard recognized the 16,000 black-owned manufacturing firms in Indiana, which make up only three percent of locally owned businesses. He spoke of his appreciation for the efforts of these firms to better connect and develop their communities.
The Mayor also touted “Live Indy”, his development plan to make Indianapolis a more attractive place to live and work. The plan has been successful so far, he said, with an increased population in downtown Indianapolis.
“More people want to live in a community where they can live, work, play, right outside their front door,” Ballard said.
One of Indiana Black Expo’s most important missions is developing Indiana’s youth, Ballard said. He commended IBE’s success with its “Your Life Matters” campaign, an initiative started in March 2014 by Ballard. Its goal is to improve the lives of young African-American males in Indianapolis.
One project that developed as a result of the “Your Life Matters” campaign is the August opening of The Francis Marion Academy, a charter school for students who have been expelled or suspended. The Hillside Academy will also be open to young people who have been, or currently are, incarcerated in the juvenile justice system.
“These schools create a new chance for students with very few options.” Ballard said.
The Mayor ended his speech by thanking those in attendance for their continuative efforts to better the Indianapolis community.
“We are building a global reputation,” he said, “that wouldn’t be possible without all of you.”
The Mayor’s Breakfast concluded with an award ceremony honoring recipients for their work and dedication in Indiana’s business community.
The awards included: the Mayor’s Emerging Entrepreneurs Award, given to Mauri Miller, owner of Measured Success Custom Clothing Company, the Minority Business of the Year Award, given to Mamon Powers III of Powers and Sons Construction Company, the Mayor’s Community Business Award of Excellence, awarded to Engaging Solutions LLC, the Business Advocate Through Media and Community Service Award, given to Reginald L. Jones Sr. and the Above and Beyond Through Leadership and Dedication Award, given to Vivian Cage, executive assistant of Department of Minority and Women Business Development.
IBE’s Summer Celebration’s business development day continued with several roundtable discussions, KeyBank and Indy Chamber Entrepreneurs Service’s “The One Page Business Plan” workshop, and the Professional Networking Reception.