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Business & Economy

Columbus Chamber of Commerce to expand resources to more Black-owned businesses

Three people of color go over documents at a table.
Rodnae Productions

The City of Columbus and Columbus Chamber of Commerce are set to expand resources to 45 Black-owned businesses. The city is committing up to $175,000 to the Chamber of Commerce to expand the “Urban Business Connection,” a program that started in 2020. It began with 30 Black-owned businesses and will now total 75 companies.

Don DePerro chairs the chamber.

“So we make sure companies have adequate health insurance for them and their associates," DePerro said. "We have other discount programs from their workers' comp insurance, for utilities and office products.”

DePerro said the program was put into place to address a lack of diversity among its members. Sherrice Thomas, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access will oversee the program.

Memberships should last up to three years. After that, businesses can buy their own membership unless the Chamber of Commerce receives more funding. It hopes to expand the program to more minority-owned businesses.

There are currently over 2,000 businesses with active memberships in the Chamber of Commerce.

Tyler Thompson was a reporter and on-air host for 89.7 NPR News. Thompson, originally from northeast Ohio, has spent the last three years working as a Morning Edition host and reporter at NPR member station KDLG Public Radio and reporter at the Bristol Bay Times Newspaper in Dillingham, Alaska.