Senate District 28
Vernon Sykes
Sens. Fedor and Sykes Hold Focus Group for Northwest Ohio's Minority Business Owners
August 13, 2021
This week, Ohio state Senators Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) conducted a focus group at the Tolhouse in Toledo to identify obstacles and collaborate on solutions to enhance the experience of minority business owners.

“I’m very pleased by the feedback we’ve received so far while talking to stakeholders during these focus groups,” Sykes said. “Hearing stories from minority business owners about the obstacles they face day-to-day will help us better address these issues and promote job creation and economic opportunities throughout our state.”

Senator Sykes jointly sponsored S. B. 105 — which would allow Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and women- and veteran-owned businesses certified by the state to have that certification recognized statewide — with Senator Kurt Schuring (R-Canton). The bill has garnered substantial support from a diverse group of advocates, including the Secretary of State, Urban Leagues throughout Ohio, the Toledo Chamber of Commerce and other chambers of commerce throughout the state, and small business leaders. The bill was unopposed in committee and was unanimously passed by the Senate. Currently, S.B. 105 is in the House Committee of Economic and Workforce Development.

“Toledo is home to many small businesses that help shape our region, which is why we owe them support and resources they need to be successful,” Fedor said. “By supporting minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses, we not only create and protect jobs – we help diversify our economy by providing opportunities to all workers in Ohio.”

The focus group was held at the Tolhouse in Toledo and featured participation from owners of local businesses and other leading experts, including Dr. Shanda Gore, who serves as vice president for institutional innovation and economic development at Union Institute and University. The event was the third in a series of six of focus groups being held statewide to gain insight on how lawmakers can help decrease barriers to success for minority-owned businesses.
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