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After a successful run on the original WAMO AM 860 several years ago, Byrd-Smith said the decision to continue to do a radio show was based on feedback from the MWDBE Advisory Committee. “It allows those who are not as computer savvy to have increased access to information coming out of the Allegheny County MWDBE Department,” she said.
“We hope to increase the technical knowledge base of small business owners, distribute event information to a wider audience, promote some of our MWDBE firms and encourage those who might decide to start a business to move forward,” she pointed out.
To date guests have included Rich Fitzgerald; Allegheny County Chief Executive, William Hawthorne; president of A For the People Insurance Agency and Connie Thornhill Bettis of Luttner Financial Group.
County Executive Fitzgerald discussed economic development projects occurring throughout the County and the positive turn around within the region. “The region has seen resurgence in U.S. manufacturing with U.S. Steel and Allegheny Technologies investing over $1 billion in regional facilities and Shell planning a multi-billion dollar world-scale petrochemical complex,” he outlined.
Using his 20 years of experience as owner of an insurance agency, Hawthorne, discussed how entrepreneurs should properly be insured personally as well as through their business. Located in the heart of the Hill District at 2514 Wyle Ave. representing over 30 insurance companies and working with over 25,000 clients, Hawthorne said his corporation’s mission fulfills his own personal legacy as being sensitive to the needs of the community and to make sure everyone is provided with quality affordable insurance. He also discussed his A For the People Insurance Training Institute.
Bettis emphasized the significance of setting goals and having a financial plan. “This is necessary for potential and established entrepreneurs,” she said. With 12 years of corporate experience and years of building financial solutions for individuals her focus is to help small business owners with business planning, employee benefits, and succession planning.
Sponsors of the show have included the Brinker Group and Christian Management Enterprises, LLC.
The Brinker Group is a minority-owned construction firm specializing in construction management, architectural finishes, glass and aluminum, flooring, and electrical services. Owned by Howard B. Slaughter, Jr., PhD, CME is a global management company focused on real estate, strategic planning, fundraising, economic development, board development training and financial literacy training.
The Allegheny County MWDBE Department is designed to create an environment that promotes meaningful business opportunities, showcases viable MWDBE firm capabilities, builds productive partnerships and exercises effective program management, targeted towards successful integration of MWDBE firms within the business structure of Allegheny County and surrounding areas.
Directed by Byrd-Smith, the Department of Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise serves as the catalyst for business development by providing technical assistance, advocating MWDBE business concerns, and providing information on opportunities within Allegheny County, as well as other local public agencies. The department works in partnership with all county departments and the community at large, to ensure the inclusion of MWDBE firms in meaningful business opportunities throughout Allegheny County.
Objectives of the MWDBE program are to increase the level of services provided to MWDBE firms, to increase the number of certified firms in markets where Allegheny County has business opportunities, to increase the availability of meaningful business opportunities afforded to MWDBE firms in Allegheny County, to demonstrate commitment to the MWDBE Program, to ensure effective communication dissemination, to establish meaningful partnerships to assist in advancing overall program goals and objectives, to create an awareness regarding the availability of viable MWDBE businesses, to employ a cutting edge approach to M/W/DBE Program implementation and management that is utilized throughout the region and to give special recognition and awards to individuals, offices and Prime Contractors who make exceptional contributions to the success of the MWDBE Program.
With the motto, “The Allegheny County Department of MWDBE is Raising the Bar in the 21st Century,” Byrd-Smith and her staff want to ensure that MBEs, WBEs and DBEs (disadvantaged business enterprises) are given the maximum opportunity to obtain and perform on contracts. “We can certify any type of for profit business, but like anything else in business, you should know who your market is, she says. When making presentations throughout the area, Byrd-Smith always points out that the county needs and utilizes all types of services imaginable.
Excited about the radio show, she says, “Our target audience is the small business community and those whose responsibility is to assist and encourage that demographic.”
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