Building entrepreneurs into business owners

Tri-States Minority Chamber of Commerce hosts its first major event.

Starting a business is a difficult process.

That's why the first major event for the Tri-States Minority Chamber of Commerce was a business networking event.

Vendors and speakers came to give information and advice on everything from financing to licensing.

The chamber hopes to help minority entrepreneurs become business owners.

"Very encouraging, very uplifting for the speakers that were there to let us know all the information out there that we had no knowledge of," Pearl Harris said.

Pearl and Philip Harris were inspired to start their own business in 2008 after going to a statewide Minority Chamber of Commerce event, similar to what the Tri-State Minority Chamber of Commerce hosted on Tuesday.

"That made me excited, knowing there's help out there that can help people like us," Harris continued.

The couple's businesses, P&P Cleaning Service, now serves about 20 local businesses and employs eight people. Their experience and the help they received is what made them want to help other entrepreneurs get started.

"With the Tri-State Minority Chamber in place, they can come to us and we can give them the direction that they need," Yolanda Wilson explained. Wilson is the treasurer of the chamber as well as a business owner.

Wilson and President Crystal Young believe that help for minority entrepreneurs is something that is much needed in the Tri-States.

"Our goal is to increase minority businesses in the Tri-States and we want to do that through contracting and government procurement," Young said.

Young believes bringing in more more minority businesses will have a positive ripple effect on the Tri-States.

"It's about making the whole region basically equal by bringing those people that are on unemployment lines to being employable, if not employable then owning their own businesses," Young said.

The chamber has been around for about a year, and encourages anyone to attend their monthly meetings.