Central Coast Minority Enterprise Resource Affiliates (CCMERA) will host a Business & Leadership Awards Gala on Friday, December 1, 2017, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 2000 Solar Drive, Oxnard.
The event will recognize diverse leaders from small business, entrepreneurs, emerging business, Tier 1 corporations, government, and nonprofit service entities. The evening will include dinner, top level entertainment, and keynote speaker addressing the topic “Small Business, a Journey of Self-Determination”.
CCMERA was founded in January 2016 by Community Advocacy Coalition (CAC) founder Byron K. Ward. Its specific purpose is to “help businesses do business” for African Americans and other members from communities of color.
Ward believes that there is a need for a business organization that focuses on helping African-American businesses develop business networking and resources. The need has been identified by black business members here in Ventura County. “There’s never been an event specifically focusing on the recognizing businesses in the African-American community as well as other diverse communities,” Ward stated.
After extensive research by supporter David Seagraves, on underserved business communities, he decided that a different model was needed. “We thought another model might be a better tool, a better organizational structure to support these kinds of services in our area,” Ward explained.
Ward pointed out that CCMERA remains connected to the California Chamber. “I sit on the Council of Chambers,” he said. “These are 22 other chambers that function under the auspices of the California Black Chamber of Commerce, of which we are a member.”
For now, however, Ward is moving in a slightly different direction, focusing on networking and sponsoring events such as the CCMERA Business & Leadership Awards.
While he encourages African-Americans to be involved in a variety of business networks, he feels that CCMERA offers something unique for businesses owned by communities of color.
“In addition to our focus on small business, we specifically try to create connections that will help African-Americans and other minority businesses with funding and points of contact that they may not get other places. Those contacts are typically sensitive to the needs of business people from underserved communities.”
The Business & Leadership Awards Gala will feature dinner, music entertainment, and the keynote speaker, Perry B. Martin, Jr., President/CEO, Vouchers, LLC, addressing the topic “Small Business, a Journey of Self-Determination”.
Recognition of business leaders will include representatives from local communities of color, women, LGBTQ, and other underrepresented constituencies that CCMERA serves.