Minority Business Celebration Set This Week

June 20, 2002
| By Katy Rent |
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 2001 Minority Business Celebration tomorrow at the Hilton-Grand Rapids Airport Hotel.

The event aims to provide a forum to honor minority-owned or woman-owned businesses in the West Michigan area while focusing on the unique problems these businesses face. Several individuals also will be recognized during the event.

Awards will be given out in four different categories: Minority Businessperson of the Year, Minority Business Advocate of the Year, Buyer of the Year and Corporation of the Year. The 2001 award recipients are Bing Goei of Plainfield Floral & Gift, minority businessperson of the year; Scott VanderSchuur, commodity manager for Steelcase Inc., minority business advocate of the year; Harriet Burns, a recent retiree from Grand Rapids Community College, buyer of the year; and Gentex, corporation of the year.

The day will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a celebration breakfast and general session with keynote speaker Christy Haubegger.

Haubegger is an expert on brand identity, gaining market share and Hispanic demographics. Her insights into marketing and publishing have gained her recognition in such magazines and newspapers as BusinessWeek, MediaWeek, Glamour, Ms., The L.A. Times and The New York Times. She also is the founder of Latina, the first bilingual magazine for Hispanic women in the United States. NBC News with Tom Brokaw recently profiled Haubegger as one of the most inspirational women of the year.

Haubegger’s address will be followed by a panel discussion, “The State of Minority Business,” from 9:30-11 a.m., moderated by Wendell Edwards, a reporter for WOOD-TV8.

At noon the celebration luncheon portion of the day’s events begins. Guests will see the presentation of the Minority Business of the Year Awards with a keynote presentation by Ronald Hall.

Hall has played a key role in minority economic development and policy in the state of Michigan. He serves on the Empowerment Zone board of directors, was a former member of Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer’s Casino Advisory Committee, and played a major role in securing minority procurement committees from Detroit’s major health-care entities.

He also serves on the boards of 100 Black Men, the Native American Business Alliance, the American Diabetes Association of Michigan, and St. John’s Hospital of Michigan, and was a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business in 1995. Currently Hall is the President and CEO of Bridgewater Interiors and was instrumental in turning the Michigan Minority Business Development Council into one of the premier minority business organizations in the country.

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