Story and photos submitted by HMBCC
The Huntsville Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (HMBCC) held its annual business conference on November 18 at Huntsville’s DoubleTree Hotel. The conference featured timely seminars, exhibitors, and the annual awards luncheon salut- ing its members, demonstrating the 2022 theme of “getting in motion to make things happen .”Primary sponsors included: Toyota Alabama, Alabama Small Business Development Center at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Quali-Tech Properties, and Huntsville Housing Authority.
The conference opened with local exhibitors representing industry and professions such as insurance, real estate, law, solar energy, retail apparel, wine & beverage, custom jewelry design and AT&T Mobility Services. Additionally, nonprofits include the Alabama Small Business Development Center at University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Huntsville Housing Authority, and the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library in North Huntsville.
The awards luncheon was hosted by Huntsville’s #1 Comedian, Mr. Jeff Johnson, better known in comedic circles as “Jeff Giant .”He delighted the crowd with quips on politician Herschel Walker, entertainer Kanye West, and others, keeping everyone entertained. The words of Michael German, CEO of Broadview America, a residential and commercial real estate development firm with nationwide projects, inspired the audience. Last spring, the city of Birmingham announced that they signed a contract with Mr. German’s firm to complete a $100 million residential project. It marked the largest residential development project by an all- Black development team in Alabama.
Some outstanding and innovative chamber members received awards. Brown Books & More (owner Janell Brown), a boutique Afro-centric bookstore in Decatur, won the Rising Star Award owning to the great promise of longevity and success as a startup business. Lakeside United Methodist Church, under the leadership of Dr. Randy Kelley, was named Nonprofit of the Year, being cited for its creative educational community programs, such as its Juneteenth Celebration event. Scene That Tours (owner Denise Swain) was named Business of the Year, having carved out a sustainable niche in the lucrative African American cultural heritage and tourism industry. Dr. Patricia Sims, President of Drake State Community and Technical College, received the .2022 Entrepreneurial Leadership award and cited launching several new programs, securing a $2.4 million grant to bring high-speed internet to the minority community, and being named to President Biden’s infrastructure committee.
Four seminars covering “Social Media Marketing,” Cannabis Industry 101”, Cybersecurity and your Business,” and “Grant- writing 101”, along with a panel discussion, “Doing Business with Local Agencies, were presented, Visit www.hsvblackchamber. org to learn more about the Huntsville Metro Black Chamber of Commerce.