Before I share what the Southern Maryland Minority Chamber of Commerce (SMMCOC) has been doing on your behalf, I wanted to let you know that earlier this month, our Board of Directors met with the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (MDHCC) Executive Committee to discuss ways of strengthening our existing Memorandum of Understanding. Both of our chambers share similar goals, particularly in the area of legislation, as minority businesses tend to face similar challenges. This is an area where the MDHCC and SMMCOC will be cooperating more closely and share our resources to maximize our voice and thus, the impact that we have in Annapolis.
There are now eighty-nine (89) chamber members. The SMMCOC co-sponsored numerous events; the Southern Maryland Legislative Evening in Annapolis and nine (9) others including, The Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, MGM National Harbor (2), Southern Maryland Economic Development Center, College of Southern Maryland and SMMCOC joined the Charles County Chamber of Commerce Military Alliance Council (MAC). The MAC was established in 2015 by the Charles County Chamber of Commerce to serve as a liaison between the defense and civilian communities in recognition of the important role the defense industry and the military play in the quality of life for Charles County citizens, as well as our local economy. MAC’s mission is to provide community support for critical and unique Department of the Navy (DON) and Department of Defense (DOD) activities, bases and missions in Charles County, MD. SMMCOC also joined the Southern Maryland Food Council. The mission of the Southern Maryland Food Council (SMFC) is to bring all the diverse stakeholders to the Table. SMMCOC’s interest in joining SMFC is to ensure inclusion of minority businesses.
In addition, SMMCOC created three (3) new committees: Broadband Committee, Chaired by Board Member John Huggins; Technology Committee, chaired by Anthony Greene; and Membership Committee, Chaired by Board Member Rhonda Thomas.
Finally, Banks grossly neglect Minority owned businesses, despite the fact, that Minority owned businesses are opening at a rate of 15x the national average. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, less than 6% of SBA 7A Loans, one of the most popular small business loan programs. Furthermore, there is enough scholarly research that suggests discrimination in lending among African Americans and Hispanic loan seekers, opening the doors to predatory lenders as the only viable alternative. FSC First is recognized as the premier lender of non-traditional financing for small and minority-owned businesses in Prince George’s County and is looking to expand into Southern Maryland.
FSC First ranks consistently amongst the top 25 lenders in the SBA Washington Metropolitan Area.
I was invited and agreed to become a member of the FSC First, Inc., Board of Directors. FSC First is designated as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) as designated by the U.S. Treasury Department. FSC First has developed local and regional strategic alliances with key economic development agencies and business resource providers who assist in bringing comprehensive resources to their clients, such as management and technical assistance, bonding, and procurement assistance.
The SMMCOC is an All-Volunteer Organization. Join Us!
Doris J. Cammack-Spencer
President, Board of Directors
Chief Executive Officer