Posted by: Meaza Morrison on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Minority-owned businesses in the United States are just that, a minority. In 2018, minority-owned businesses made up 18.3% of businesses according to the 2019 Annual Business Survey. This is largely due to systemic problems surrounding the economic gap. Historically, black-owned businesses have struggled to launch and keep the doors open. Tampa Bay residents, it is up to us to work together to close this gap. These types of numbers reflect our entire community, not just specific areas. Everyone in our community impacts one another, even if it is not a direct impact or it cannot be easily seen.  Supporting the existing minority-owned businesses and working together to empower more minorities to ignite their dreams, is a win-win. The existing businesses will help boost our economy and the new businesses will reflect a business community that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Integrated Security Consultants (ISC), established in 2008, is a Tampa-based, minority-owned small business. We provide security cameras, IP video, access control, entry systems, alarms, and data services for commercial properties.  If we had to choose one word to describe our experience so far in the Tampa Bay Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) program, it would be, “outstanding!” Integrated Security Consultants has already gained so much in this program. There are not many organizations willing to provide the resources necessary to help minority businesses grow. The Tampa Bay Chamber is not only providing resources, but the thorough program provides support to the organization for two years.

In just the starting months, this comprehensive program has already provided training sessions, mentors, connections, leads, and most of all a community of support. The team genuinely wants to see us succeed. The mentorship part of the program has helped ISC identify the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. Taking it a step forward, our mentor provides solutions and feedback as we work to continue to do business better and grow.

The sessions have been facilitated by organizations with extensive years of success right here in the Tampa Bay area. The curated topics have ranged from leadership style, human resources management, finance and taxes, business law, and Tampa Bay’s economic growth. Being that the detailed discussion is specific to Tampa Bay’s current economy, we have been able to reflect, regroup, and plan accordingly. Allowing us to remain one step ahead for future opportunities.

This program has been a safe place for ISC to learn and grow. It is an incredible experience to be in a room full of successful leaders who cheer each other along. The camaraderie with our fellow members allows us to comfortably share and support one another. Being able to speak to fellow cohort members who are going through the same process has been reassuring. Likewise, receiving input and suggestions on areas that a fellow cohort member has already been through and resolved is invaluable.

ISC is honored to be a part of the Tampa Bay Chamber’s MBA Program and we are thankful for organizations like this who are doing the work to close this gap.  The Tampa Bay community will benefit from the results of the Chamber's MBA program and similar programs that are reaching back and lifting as they grow.