Jacksonville, Fla., Feb. 1, 2021 –North Florida business owners have announced The Greater First Coast Chamber of Commerce, Innovation & Trade with a Black History Month campaign to #FlipTheSign and reduce COVID-19 black business closures.
Pronounced First Seat (CCCIT)), the regional partnership intends to serve the North Florida and Southeast Georgia business community to help expand COVID-19 recovery initiatives and address the need for long-term sustainability for underserved businesses and entrepreneurs.
“We are here to address sustainability,” says Jackie Perry, Founding Trustee and former President and CEO of Beaver Street Enterprise Center. “This is larger than a single program or service. This is about the greater impact, future contributions, and the ability and capacity of these businesses to keep pace with the growth of our economic ecosystem.”
Like the rest of the country, Jacksonville is in an economic crisis due to the COVID-19 operating environment. As a result, all segments of the economy are threatened with shut down and closure. The business community experiencing the greatest threat are black-owned businesses that have been the hardest hit by COVID-19, with as much as 40% shuttered to-date compared to 16% of all businesses, and a more than $400 billion potential loss to the U.S. economy. As businesses and the economy enter the third wave of impact, the state of black-owned businesses in Duval and the greater Jacksonville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is largely unknown.
With full impact of COVID-19 on North Florida minority-owned businesses yet to be determined, business leaders secured a business consulting and research firm’s services to create an initial needs assessment survey and conduct research to determine current and future needs. The findings pointed to the need for a strong regional chamber focused on creating economic and social prosperity opportunities in our greater First Coast community and business core. The areas of need fall under six pillars that include: Access to Capital, Access to Business Opportunities, Innovation and Investment, Global Trade, The Whole Entrepreneur Training and Development, and Job Creation.
The Greater First CCCIT (Pronounced First Seat) chamber is one of a few initiatives recently formed to provide support to black and minority owned businesses. The JAX Chamber established the Lewis and White Business League, a program focused on improving economic opportunity for African Americans in Jacksonville. Additionally, the University of North Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) will launch The Swisher Startup for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs to support early-stage companies and entrepreneurs in Northeast Florida.
The need for a business alliance that collects data and evidence-based research designed to identify, create programs, and provide solutions to address these businesses’ needs is urgent and an imperative to protect the future state of the Jacksonville economy and the First Coast.
Representing Businesses in the Florida First Coast and Southeast Georgia
Lcoation: 610 N JULIA STREET JACKSONVILLE FL 32202 PHONE CONTACT DR. V: 210-551-9193 | FAX: 904-379-4073
LAVILLA HISTORIC DISTRICT – DOWNTOWN JACKSONVILLE