As diversity flourishes, so does business
As Buffalo’s field of dreams grows along the waterfront and Medical Campus, some involved in the long struggle to get minority-owned businesses a share of the action say the answer increasingly is “yes.”
Maybe that explains the turnout this week when Global Spectrum, the company managing Canalside, held an outreach meeting in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center to lay out some of the business opportunities. About half of the more than 50 entrepreneurs who showed up were black.
It was the second such meeting the company has held since being hired by Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. in January. The temptation is to dismiss such events as dog-and-pony shows – until you hear stories such as Anita Sanders’.
Sanders went to the first meeting in March, heard about the opportunity to supply everything from food and uniforms to paper products and cleaning supplies, and then posed an inquiry. “I just asked the question, ‘Do you need security?’ He said, ‘Yes,’ and it went on from there,” said Sanders, who used her experience as a Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police officer and her master’s degree in management to start Trace Assets Protection Service two years ago.
Now she has a contract with Canalside for Thursdays at the Square and weekend events, guarding everything from ticket receipts to bank deposits.
Her advice to other minorities looking to get a foot in the door? “Make sure you follow through … and go to the meetings,” she said, echoing the advice of Jennifer Parker, who was hired by Eric Mower + Associates to put together an outreach effort to minority and female entrepreneurs for Canalside.
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