County, Federal Agencies & Officials Offer Small Business Assistance

PITTSBURGH – County Executive Rich Fitzgerald joined Congressman Mike Doyle, U.S. Department of Commerce officials from the Economic Development Administration and Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the Executive Director of Christian Evangelistic Economic Development (CEED) and other professionals in “The Economics of Entrepreneurialism, Wealth and Globalization,” a seminar focused on small business assistance.

“We are extremely proud to have such distinguished speakers participating in this seminar in Allegheny County,” said Fitzgerald. “We welcome these renowned panelists and speakers to Wilkinsburg today, and look forward to the knowledge that they will share, the opportunity to network, and the help to small businesses in our region.”

The list of speakers for the day’s seminar includes: Cedric Grant, Director for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the U.S. Department of Commerce; Willie C. Taylor, Regional Director of the Economic Development Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce; Jerry Flavin of the Small Business Administration; Ruth Byrd-Smith, Director of the Allegheny County M/W/DBE Department; Rachel Burse, Save-A-Lot Minority Business Development Manager; Rufus Idris, Executive Director of CEED; as well as remarks from Congressman Mike Doyle, 14th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.

“Encouraging small business creation, especially in historically disadvantaged communities, isn’t just important for the people living in those communities, it’s essential,” said Congressman Doyle. “It’s essential for the nation’s economy as well because our life-blood is really in the United States’ small businesses.”

In addition to various speakers, participants in today’s seminar have the opportunity to participate in break-out sessions, a faith-based roundtable discussion and a small business networking session. They will also have the opportunity to hear the experiences of small business entrepreneurs Chase Patterson of Corporate Diversity Associates, Wakike Jones of Urgent Denture Repair, Leslie Parr of Shining Stars Creative H=Childcare and Learning Center and Don Williams of Jet Industries, LLC.

Dr. Howard B. Slaughter, Jr., President and CEO of Christian Management Enterprises, LLC, and Adjunct Professor of Business of Point Park University said, “Today’s U.S. economy is not dominated by multi-national corporations, but its small businesses, which account for 52% of all U.S. workers. Nearly 67.2 million Americans work for companies employing fewer than 499 workers. Allegheny County’s small businesses are leveraging marketing and business expansion opportunities, which makes this an attractive region for federal investment.”

Dr. Slaughter served as Master of Ceremonies and gave opening remarks to kick off the program. The opening prayer was offered by Bishop Loran E. Mann and was followed by remarks about “Why Youth” by Charlie Batch, Founder of Best of the Batch Foundation and Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback. Over 200 attendees participated in the four-hour seminar.

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