Senate District 28
Vernon Sykes
Sens. Sykes and Craig Hold Focus Group for Central Ohio's Minority Business Owners
August 11, 2021
Today, Ohio state Senators Vernon Sykes (D-Akron) and state Senator Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus) conducted a focus group at Columbus Chamber of Commerce in Columbus to identify obstacles and collaborate on solutions to enhance the experience of minority business owners. 

“As we work on legislation, it’s always crucial for us to hear from the Ohioans who it will impact most,” Sykes said. “I am thankful for the collaboration between the Columbus Urban League, Columbus Chamber of Commerce and business leaders of Central Ohio. Their perspectives provide valuable insight that will shape our continued work on Senate Bill 105, which will help improve minority-owned businesses’ chances for success.” 

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 Columbus 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.

“Small businesses, especially minority-owned small businesses, create countless jobs and shape the vibrancy of our communities,” said Craig, who served as Chair of the Columbus City Council’s Small Business and Minority Business Committee and as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives’ Small Business Committee. “Especially because of the pandemic, it’s so important for us to support our local businesses. By having these focus groups, we can help uplift the voices of those with firsthand entrepreneurial experience and ensure that there are ladders of opportunity for all businesses across Ohio.” 

The focus group was held at Columbus Chamber of Commerce in Columbus and featured participation from owners of local businesses, including McDaniel’s Construction Corporation and Eric Seabrook, the Chief of the Minority Business Development Division. The event was the second in a series of six of focus groups being held statewide to gain insight on how lawmakers can help minimize barriers to success for minority-owned businesses. 
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