Savannah Multicultural Chamber of Commerce (SMCC) Board of Directors hosted a celebration of Black businesses of Savannah last Saturday evening, August 17, 2019 at the Savannah Station. The 2019 theme is “Honoring the Past, Looking Forward to the Future,” featuring a State of Black Business address by SMCC President Moncello Stewart. Stewart also made the announcement of the name change from Savannah Multicultural Chamber of Commerce to The Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce.
Board Member Tomeca McPherson introduced the speaker for the evening, Mr. Melvin Coleman, Executive Director Atlanta Black Chamber. He is also a native of Savannah and a 1986 graduate of Savannah High School. He provided the audience with statistics of who has the wealth and how the Black Chamber can be instrumental in growing local Black businesses. Coleman went on to mention that according to Forbes Magazine, there are 2,153 billionaires in the world.
Out of 2,153, there are 13 Black billionaires. He then mentioned the four African-Americans we all may be familiar with including Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Robert Smith, who recently paid off the 2019 graduates of Morehouse student loans, and David Steward. David L. Steward is Chairman and Founder of World Wide Technology, Inc., one of the largest African American-owned businesses in America. “We’ve come a mighty long way, but yet still have a ways to go” said Coleman. He continued stating that African Americans spend 1.2 trillion dollars annually and 98% of that does not go to Black businesses. “If we can find a way to shift 10%, it will have a tremendous impact on Black America.”
It has been reported that $1 circulates every six hours in the black community. This means every 18 hours blacks buy products and services outside of their community. This has a significantly negative impact on wealth building in the black community and makes it difficult for black business owners to serve the black community efficiently, effectively and economically. The new SMCC Board of Directors recognizes the plight of black businesses in Savannah and wishes to recognize and honor local black business owners for their consistent, hard work. Dr. Maxine Bryant of Bryant Educational Seminars & Training presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Alfonso Dandy of Antioch Foot and Ankle Group; Alicia Gaffney of Carver State Bank presented the Emerging Business Awards to Gary Gordon of 520 Wings and Sabriya Scott of Scott Realty Professionals; Alderman Van Johnson presented the Trailblazer Awards to Robert E. James, President of Carver State Bank and Estelle Mannion of Stellar Production, Inc.
Dancing and networking continued with music by TGLIVE Band who provided entertainment throughout the evening.
For more information or to join the Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce, contact Board Member Roy Maynard at 912-660-7584.