Posted by: Tampa Bay Chamber on Thursday, February 11, 2021

Tampa, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Chamber received a grant from The CLA Foundation, the private foundation of CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen) for the second year in a row to support the Minority Business Accelerator (MBA). The program helps Black and Hispanic business owners who are concerned with their lack of business growth and want to learn how to compete in the market more effectively. The MBA helps these businesses identify and overcome growth barriers, connect to corporate decision makers, and uncover potential funding opportunities. By providing practical tools for change, program participants are positioned to increase capacity, create jobs, and build wealth.

CLA is a member of the Tampa Bay Chamber and is also a Community Partner of the Minority Business Accelerator program. “CLA Tampa is overjoyed that the Minority Business Accelerator was awarded a grant from the CLA Foundation again! The CLA Foundation is unique in that all grant nominations originate from CLA team members who nominate organizations they believe are making a difference in their communities,” said Tampa Managing Principal of Office Gretchen Whalen. “Thank you to CLA Principal Kadian Douglas for your dedication to the MBA program and for nominating the MBA for a grant this cycle.”

Kadian is a principal in the Cybersecurity group at CLA helping clients to identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks. She currently serves on the Leadership Council of the Minority Business Accelerator program where the council is responsible for recruiting minority businesses, evaluating, and providing recommendations for the continued impact of the program, among other responsibilities to advance the mission of the Minority Business Accelerator program. Most recently, Kadian served on the selection committee for the cohort class that started the program in 2021 (Cohort ’22).

“We are honored that CLA not only sees the benefit of the Minority Business Accelerator by being a sponsor of the program, but also that they’d be willing to put us in a for a grant through their foundation to help further support the program. The Minority Business Accelerator has made such a positive impact on the minority business community and the larger community in the almost five years since it launched. As we continue to grow and expand the MBA program, the support of organizations like CLA will be vital to ensuring its, said Bob Rohrlack, President and CEO of the Tampa Bay Chamber.

Testimonials from Minority Business Accelerator Cohort Member:

“During the pandemic the accelerator program has helped me remain focused on building contingency plans and continuing to analyze the opportunities and threats in the business. Sharing and hearing ideas from the other cohort members' experience and the pivots has led to more creativity in creating my own adaptations to maneuver the life changes.” -Ashley Butler, President of Ice Cold Air and 2021 Cohort Participant

“The Accelerator program truly changes the lives of the businesses that join and in return changes the lives of the community we impact through job creation and revenue. I cannot speak highly enough of the opportunity to be part of this program.” -Ben Walker, Owner of Buyer’s Point and 2021 Cohort Participant

Founding Sponsors for the Minority Business Accelerator:

Tampa General Hospital

Tampa International Airport


Valley National Bank

Vinik Family Foundation

Community Partners for the Minority Business Accelerator:

Citi Bank

CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen)

Coca-Cola Beverages Florida