Chattanooga Chamber Hosts Minority Enterprise Development Week Oct. 24 – 27

The Chattanooga Chamber’s Diversity & Inclusion department hosts Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week 2016 Monday – Thursday, Oct. 24 – 27.

The week’s events connect minority entrepreneurs with minority business owners. Events are free, open to the public and geared toward ALL business owners, community leaders and individuals who support the Chamber’s economic inclusion goals.

The Chattanooga Chamber also partners with the Nashville Minority Business Center to encourage local business owners to attend Nashville MED Week 2016 Tuesday – Thursday, Nov. 1 – 3.

These events, held at the State Capitol, focus on best practices from other cities and conversations with Tennessee legislators on how to increase state contracts for diverse firms.

2016 Chattanooga MED Week Event Schedule

MONDAY, Oct. 24
9 a.m. – noon
INCubator – Business Development Center: 100 Cherokee Blvd., Chattanooga, TN 37405

Minority, women and service-disabled veteran business owners – now’s your chance to learn from the experts how to apply for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certifications. These certifications are a must have for eligible small businesses bidding on contracts for construction or to provide supplies and professional services to local, state and federal governments and private firms. The seminar includes a panel discussion and breakout groups for step-by-step instructions on completing the applications. Want to bid on UTC’s construction projects? Seeking a maintenance contract with the City of Chattanooga? Interested in landscaping for Erlanger Health System? How about getting a contract with the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport or U.S. Department of Energy? Attendees are asked to bring a laptop, I-Pad or other mobile device with internet access. Learn which certification best fits your firm’s growth plan:

  • U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) certification
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification
  • Tennessee Governor’s Diversity Business Enterprise (Go-DBE) certification
  • Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) certification
  • City of Chattanooga’s NEW Diverse Business Enterprise (DBE) certification

MONDAY, Oct. 24
6 p.m.
City Hall, Third Floor – Veranda Room: 101 E. 11th Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402

Are you a local, small, minority, woman, service-disabled veteran and/or LGBT business owner? If so, the City of Chattanooga wants to do business with you. Join us for an information session on how to improve your chances of getting a City bid or contract. This evening seminar, hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, will walk you through the purchasing process and introduce you to new developments in City supplier diversity, like internal DBE certification, business incentives, Kiva micro-financing and updates from the Mayor’s Minority Business Task Force.

TUESDAY, Oct. 25
6 p.m.
Bessie Smith Cultural Center: 200 E. Martin Luther King Blvd., Chattanooga, TN 37403

Join us for a panel discussion between minority business owners and their children taking over family businesses. This intergenerational session will show how local business owners survived – and sometimes thrived – through decades of discrimination, economic decline and family challenges. You’ll also hear from the next generation of business owners on how they plan to move these businesses forward in a technology driven economy. Have times really changed? What advice can each generation give to today’s business owners? Panelists include:

  • Bobby Adamson and son, Charles Adamson – Adamson Developers, LLC
  • Carolyn Jones and son, Charles Kimbrough, Jr. – CJ Enterprises, Inc.
  • John Edwards III and son, Adrian Edwards – Chattanooga News Chronicle

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Bessie Smith Cultural Center: 200 E. Martin Luther King Blvd., Chattanooga, TN 37403


Keynote Speaker: Albert Woodard
Chattanooga’s first MED Week honoree, Albert Woodard, recently sold his healthcare IT company, Business Computer Applications Inc., reported to be one of the largest minority owned software development companies in the U.S. As board chairman of KaZee, another information technology company, he continues to provide healthcare IT products and services. Hear his unique journey from working as a software engineer in Chattanooga to launching with a college classmate one of the nation’s fastest growing small businesses that impacted global underserved populations by using technology to improve patient healthcare.  This Chattanooga area native has been recognized as a seasoned entrepreneur and pioneer of the information technology age.

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
INCubator – Business Development Center: 100 Cherokee Blvd., Chattanooga, TN 37405


Presenter:  Amanda Jelks, Attorney and Owner at Jelks Law Firm
When it comes to negotiating or enforcing contracts, many small business owners make the same mistakes, costing them more money than expected. Learn how to avoid the pitfalls of contracts at this lunch and learn seminar. You’ll find out what you want, don’t want and need before signing a contract, and there will be time for any contract-specific questions you may have.  

To sponsor an event, get more information or register for MED Week 2016 events, contact Maria Noel, Chattanooga Chamber, at (423) 763-4338 or [email protected]

Sponsored by SunTrust Bank, Tennessee Valley Authority, City of Chattanooga’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, Hamilton County Government, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, and the University of Tennessee Procurement Technical Assistance Center

2016 Nashville MED Week Event Schedule

Nov. 1-3
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tennessee State Capitol House Chambers


Business Equity in Purchasing and Contracting: Best Practices from Seattle and Houston
Take notes from Nancy M. Locke, Director of the Department of Finance and Administrative Services for the City of Seattle’s Purchasing & Contracting Services, and Marsha E. Murray, Esq., Deputy Director of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity, on the practices both cities use to ensure minority, small, veteran and women-owned businesses are awarded government contracts.


Holding Ourselves Accountable: Lessons from Baltimore and the State of Maryland
The City of Baltimore and the State have made great strides in improving diverse businesses access to lucrative government contracts. Hear from Franklin M. Lee, Esq. and Anthony W. Robinson, Esq. on how they worked with city officials, business leaders, and more to leverage existing policies and procedures to improve the outcomes for diverse businesses in the government contracting process.


Diverse Business Policy Forum
Engage with state agencies, minority business officials and state legislators in a roundtable policy discussion. Participants will have the opportunity to breakout into business industry groups to take part in hands on policy discussion input for the 2017 Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators’ agenda. The goal is to develop a legislative agenda that eliminates systemic barriers and creates sustainable economic development opportunities for diverse businesses in the State of Tennessee.

For more events and to register, visit

Sponsored by HCA/TriStar Health, Crosslin & Associates, Google Fiber, Regions Bank, RH Boyd Publishing Corporation and The Ryman Hospitality Properties Foundation

Brief History of MED Week

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a Presidential Proclamation declaring National Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) in October. MED Week, celebrated in cities throughout the U.S., recognizes the contributions of minority-owned businesses to the national economy.

In 1983, Chattanooga’s first MED Week was organized by Maria Noel, formerly employed by the Tennessee Office of Minority Business Enterprise and now director of Diversity & Inclusion at the Chamber. The luncheon speaker was her father, the late Roy Noel, who months earlier co-founded Chattanooga’s African-American Museum and Research Center, now located in the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

Years later and for more than two decades, Chattanooga’s MED Week was organized by the late Charles Payne, an African-American entrepreneur and community newspaper publisher who expanded the celebration to include support from the broader business community. Some 33 years later, Maria once again organizes MED Week.

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