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Small Business Owners Gear Up for MDC’s Intensive Workshop Series

Miami, June 26, 2008 - An eclectic group of small business owners convened in an oversized classroom at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Wolfson Campus last week to begin the first round of what will be an intense and comprehensive training series designed to sharpen their business skills in the areas of credit, financing, development and expansion, sales and marketing.

Helping to give the workshop attendees a boost of confidence at last week’s kickoff was Florida Rep. Ronald A. Brisé, who promised the audience he will do his part to restore the local economy. “It’s been said that minorities don’t progress the way they should but all of you are shining examples of what is possible. I’m working aggressively with our counterparts in Tallahassee to open the right doors to help you learn the ropes and what it takes to prosper, so everyone as a whole can rebound economically.”

The free, nine-week workshops are part of MDC’s Minority Business Capacity Development Program, and is funded through a grant provided by Citi Foundation. Every year, the Citi Foundation awards reviews proposals for grants from organizations that can demonstrate success in the areas of education, including financial education and community development. “Our goal is to ensure these individuals are in a position to make more money, take advantage of procurement opportunities here at MDC, if they qualify, and stimulate the economy,” said MDC Wolfson Campus President Dr. Rolondo Montoya. “We’re here to guide and increase their viability in this community.”

Attending last week’s first workshop session were nearly three dozen business owners and their employess, all of whom were given an extensive lesson on the importance of both personal and business credit. Many of the businesses are well-established, neighborhood favorites, including the landmark Princes Pitt Barbeque in Brownsville and B’s Grocery & Café, and several others. Other workshop participants included a pair of culinary artists, one of which is a 2008 winner of the “Best of Miami” contest; construction contractors; property managers; an architect; landscapers; a book publisher; and a music company owner who owns two recording studios.

“There were things I didn’t know about bank financing and certain factors affecting your credit report,” said Rucht D’Oleo, one of the workshop participants and owner of Rucht D’Oleo Designs, a clothing boutique located in downtown North Miami. “I studied business fundamentals in school but I hope this workshop will teach me how to grow my business, bring in more customers, and how to deal with lenders.” The applicants were selected based on their need for the training, such as identifying the factors that currently limit their company’s growth as well as giving a full description as to how they plan to use the training to further develop their business. 

The workshop participants are expected to learn everything from tax planning and marketing to writing effective business plans, winning government contracts and securing financing. “These are challenging economic times for our local business owners,” said Jane Zucker, MDC program manager for minority business development. “It’s critical to stay current with business trends and to constantly make new connections – from customers, to suppliers, and sources of capital. This program is a very targeted, rapid-fire way for businesses to get help in key areas and maintain their competitive edge.”

The workshops are closed to the public; however, the media is invited to attend. They are held every Wednesday through August 13, beginning at 6 p.m. at MDC’s Wolfson Campus, Building 3, Second Floor, Room 3208-09. Guest speakers for today’s (June 25) session will be Cornell Crews of Partners for Self-Employment and Lawanda Wright-Robinson of Miami-Dade County’s Office of Small Business Affairs.

For more information on the program, contact: Jane Zucker, 305-237-7430 or jzucker@mdc.edu.

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, MDC communications director
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359, tcarroll@mdc.edu, media specialist




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