MED Week 2017
Nashville Minority Business Center hosts MEDWeek 2017

 from L to R: Academy at Opry Mills Student, Phil Cobucci owner of BAM! Social Business, Tereva Parham of DENOR Brands & Public Relations, Academy at Opry Mills student, Kay Maynard of Kay Maynard State Farm, Troy Smith of Suntrust Bank, and Academy at Opry Mills student. (Photo by Tony Beasley, from the Youth Career Opportunities Program)

from L to R: Academy at Opry Mills Student, Phil Cobucci owner of BAM! Social Business, Tereva Parham of DENOR Brands & Public Relations, Academy at Opry Mills student, Kay Maynard of Kay Maynard State Farm, Troy Smith of Suntrust Bank, and Academy at Opry Mills student. (Photo by Tony Beasley, from the Youth Career Opportunities Program)

The Nashville Minority Business Center hosted its 35th annual Minority Enterprise Development Week (MEDWeek) primarily from October 1 through 8. The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘The Road to Public Contracting: Breaking the Barriers, Mastering the Challenges.’ The MED Week conference closed on Sunday, October 29 with the Minority Business Achievement Awards.

The Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference each year aims to recognize the contributions made by minority businesses to the Nation’s economy and share best practices with local business owners on growing and scaling their businesses. The conference, which extends beyond one week, consists of a myriad of small business development workshops and recognition events, including Minority Business Recognition Sunday, the Diverse Business Policy Forum, the Youth Career Opportunities Program, and the forthcoming Minority Business Achievement Awards powered by Regions Bank.

The Center hosted a series of small business listening sessions on three consecutive Tuesdays at theLab Nashville. The Center also announced a new curriculum on securing government contracts and new legislation, both aimed at increasing economic opportunities for small businesses. The policy forum and other classes were held at Two Rivers Mansion. The Minority Business Recognition Sunday was held on October 1 at various Nashville churches

“We are excited about this year’s Minority Enterprise Development Week,” said Marilyn Robinson, Nashville Minority Business Center Executive Director. “We are even more excited about the chance to support more minority businesses build capacity and get prepared for more public contracting opportunities.”

The Nashville Minority Business Center’s Youth Career Opportunities Program, held in collaboration with Google Fiber, is designed to stimulate thought and provide information about starting and/or owning a business as well as exposing students to various career opportunities. Fifteen speakers shared with students about the level of experience, skills, and attitudes necessary for success in the workplace as well as their own personal stories at Overton High, Hillwood High, Hillsboro High, and the Academy at Opry Mills.

Oftentimes, many small and minority businesses are overlooked for these public contracts, despite many of these businesses being registered and certified with the government as qualified to secure such coveted work. After feedback, several conversations, and multiple surveys, the Center is partnering with legislators to create a statewide program to increase economic opportunities for emerging businesses.

The Minority Business Achievement Awards recognized the accomplishments made by minority-owned enterprises in the Nashville-Metropolitan area. Awards were given in the following categories: Minority Business Advocate, Minority Business of the Year, and the Corporate Partner Award.