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Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic firms

By Times Staff Writer
Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]

A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities and raise their visibility.

Recruitment for the program begins in August. Two information sessions, June 27 and 29, are scheduled prior to the application period (details are at Inaugural participants in the program will be announced at the chamber's annual meeting Dec. 14.

"This initiative is the culmination of researching similar programs in other communities and understanding the needs of the Tampa/Hillsborough County area," stated Bemetra Simmons, chair of the accelerator program and a Wells Fargo banker.

The Tampa chamber says a recent study found that while minority businesses are important contributors to the economic vitality of Hillsborough County, there are glaring disparities that prevent minority businesses from achieving greater economic equality.