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Greater West Dayton Incubator closes out inaugural Gem City Black Business Month

By: Charisse Ponder

The inaugural Gem City Black Business month has officially wrapped up. Let's take a look back on the final week of events and what organizers are looking forward to for next year.

The week's first event was titled Banking as a Black Business Owner and located at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. Te’jal Cartwright, creator of What’s the Biz with TJ Youtube series, moderated the conversation that addressed banking readiness, the myths about banking and how to build relationships with bankers.

The panelists were Jay Williams, vice president and business banking relationship manager at KeyBank; Dwight Dewberry, vice president of business banking at PNC Bank; William Ware, vice president and branch manager of PNC Bank and Christopher Nalls, attorney at the Nalls Law Group LLC.

Dewberry said a main point he wants people to take away is to build a relationship with their banker. Doing that, he said, means communicating your goals and being transparent.

“The more you’re able to articulate that with those individuals, the better they are in aligning their solutions with the opportunities that you have,” said Dewberry.

Williams wants business owners to seek out the experts and not be afraid to ask for help.

Closing out the month of events was the Procurement and Supplier Diversity 101 session held at the Dayton Metro Library Northwest Branch. Belinda Matthews Stenson, director of the Minority Business Partnership at the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, was the event’s facilitator. The agenda included a presentation on supplier diversity and an introduction from the panel of corporations, followed by a networking-based question and answer session.

Business owners learned how to become contractors with a range of corporations, from local universities to medical insurance companies.

An interactive game helping build awareness Black businesses called Black Business Bingo was another initiative happening the whole month. Yvette Kelly Fields, regional director of development at Miami University, created and organized the game with an additional goal to encourage Black philanthropy. 

Each week during the month residents patronized businesses and emailed pictures of their receipts to enter in weekly prize drawings. Submissions received during the final week were entered for a drawing for the grand prize of a $100 Visa gift card. The winner will be announced on Saturday, Sept. 4.

Businesses also paid a fee to participate that will be donated to the Dayton Metro Library West Branch, which is set to open this November.

Organizers for Gem City Black Business Month thought the first go-around was interactive for attendees and session moderators. Looking forward to next year, they said they want to facilitate more diverse partnerships and work to make the effort happen annually.

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