Tampa Bay Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator recognized by World Chambers Federation, in Geneva

The Tampa Bay Chamber represented the region at the International Chamber of Commerce World Chambers Federation held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator was one of only four finalists in the global competition for Best Chamber Model of Innovation.

Presenting before the international panel was Avril Stinson, vice president of economic inclusion and leadership development at the Chamber, and a Tampa Bay Business and Wealth’s Women’s Award winner in its inaugural event, held in April.

“It was a surreal experience. Describing our accelerator to that audience of people from around the world was an incredible moment, made possible by the support we have back home,” says Stinson. “Our MBA sponsors, mentors and advisors helped us grow this accelerator to reach the global stage. It’s just incredible.”

In 2017, the two-year emersion program became the first of its kind in the region because of its targeted curriculum for small business owners – companies with defined growth strategy and annual gross revenue of at least $500,000, according to a statement.

Founding sponsors of the program include Tampa General Hospital, TECO Energy, Valley Bank and the Vinik Family Foundation.

Community Partners include CITI Bank, Coca Cola Beverages- Florida, Grow Financial Credit Union and Suncoast Credit Union, plus grant awards from Florida Business Development Corporation, Truist Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

In the last three years, cohorts reported $30Million in annual gross sales, created more than 400 new jobs and filled 440 vacancies. The annual time investment between mentees and their financial and business strategy mentors surpassed 700 hours, the statement said.

Held every two years, in various regions of the globe, the World Chambers Congress brings together chamber professionals representing more than 100 countries, hosting panels and the International Chamber of Commerce Competition to exchange ideas and best practices.

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