Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
Marketplace 2005 – Growing Minority Business
Starting and taking minority-owned businesses to the next level was the focus of Marketplace 2005, Governor Doyle's annual conference on minority business development. Three hundred seventy-eight people attended the two-day conference December 1-2 at the Country Springs Hotel & Conference Center in Waukesha.
Keynote speaker Albert C. Black, Jr., president and CEO of On-Target Supply and Logistics, Inc., Dallas, Texas shared the dais with Milwaukee's Troy Shaw, host of Milwaukee's "Focus on Diversity" TV show at the Thursday afternoon session, speaking on ways to advance success in minority business. Black also addressed the conference again at the evening's awards banquet, which recognized the achievements of some 12 minority-owned businesses. (See list of winners below.)
Ruby Brooks, director of the Minority Business Bureau at Commerce, filled the role of emcee throughout the conference. She was aided in handling the planning and logistics of the conference by her staff including Aggo Akyea, Mary Perich, Truphosa Mwololo, student volunteers from the Milwaukee-based Center for Teaching Entrepreneurship and other Commerce employees "on loan" for the day.
Commerce Secretary Mary Burke addressed conference attendees at the Friday luncheon, and Alliant Energy CEO Errol Davis Jr. stepped in for Governor Doyle due to a last minute scheduling change. Davis offered words of wisdom culled from his years of business experience including: the need to clearly articulate goals; having adequate working capital; providing value to the customer; trusting your own instincts; treating employees well; anticipating what might be down the road in your given industry – paying particular attention to technology and government regulations; giving back to the community, and finding balance in one's personal life.
Conference participants had the opportunity to participate in workshops and panel discussions ranging from how to write a business proposal to financing to exporting. This year's Marketplace included a special Executive Learning Center which featured intense hands-on learning opportunities in a state-of-the-art facility, and an "Ask the Expert" resource hub which gave participants the opportunity to meet one-on-one with subject matter experts from various resource organizations to discuss issues such as government contracting, joint ventures and strategic partnerships, risk management and other key areas of business development.
Commerce staff are already soliciting feedback from conference attendees, and planning ahead for 2006, when Marketplace will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Marketplace 2005 Award Winners
-- Barbro McGinn
The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.
Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.