Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce

Recent Articles

Keystone Computer Solution: preparing youth of color for IT professions

Couple says creating future leaders is ‘the right thing to do’

 

By Isaac Peterson

Contributing Writer

 

The Richburgs, Joe and Dorothy, have extensive experience with a large number of large local corporations. Between the two, they have worked for Pillsbury, Control Data, 3M, and the Federal Reserve Bank in various capacities. That lasted until the time, as Joe Richburg describes it, that “The light came on. Working for somebody else means you are always at their beck and call, and you will never be truly independent and free; you will never realize your potential working for someone else.”

That realization led to the couple founding Keystone Computer Solutions, Inc. Dorothy, originally from Washington, DC, and Joe, from Philadelphia, had met at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where they both had focused their studies on mathematics and computer science. After graduating, they both had job offers in the Twin Cities: Dorothy with 3M and Joe with Pillsbury. Continue Reading →

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Supporting our own

Community awareness, trust cited as factors in Black business and event success
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

With the African American community being relatively small in Minnesota, it can be challenging for Black business owners and those planning events targeted at Blacks to obtain the level of support they are seeking. But there are at least two events that continue to gain momentum each year. This year’s Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF) appeared to be attended by many Blacks. “This festival was one of our most successful festivals, because I did try to tap into those unknown groups” such as community groups with large numbers of African American in attendance, reported TCBFF Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. She noted that during the four-day event held in September, one film was sold out and other screenings had large crowds. Continue Reading →

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Successful Black businesses are open to criticism

Tomorrow’s young entrepreneurs need mentoring opportunities today
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Though the number of Black-owned businesses in Minnesota has been on the rise over the past 20 years, many of them fail to make it past the five-year mark that is generally believed to be the make-it-or-break-it period for new businesses. Currently there are over 200 different types of Black businesses in the Twin Cities area. The MSR recently talked with local Black business people who offered first-hand advice on how to help a Black business thrive today. “We have a great number of barbershops and hair salons, but I would like to see lawyers…and other [Black businesses] in the professional realm,” observed Michael Wright, St. Paul’s Golden Thyme owner and operator. Continue Reading →

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Malls and misconceptions: Black-owned businesses face unique challenges

Second in a series 
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Black-owned businesses in Minnesota have grown steadily over a 20-year span. According to the U.S. Economic Census taken every five years, there were 4,024 Black businesses in 1997; then the number grew to 7,837. The latest count, based on the 2007 census, tallied 12,454 Black-owned businesses in the state. Updated information based on the 2012 census will be released later this fall. However, percentage-wise, Black businesses only make up 2.5 percent of all Minnesota businesses, and just over five percent of all businesses in Hennepin County — nationwide, 13 percent of all U.S. businesses are Black owned. Continue Reading →

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Confusion widespread on Affordable Care Act

 
Enrollment in new MN health insurance exchange begins in October 
 
 
 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be in full force sooner rather than later, and U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison says every American will benefit from it. However, he sadly points out that there are “professional misinformation spreaders trying to confuse people” on the law. Ellison held two separate forums on the ACA July 2, first with local small business owners at the Minneapolis Urban League’s Northside headquarters, then with community folk across the street at the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center. The first was attended by around 20 business people, but none were Black business owners. “We certainly reached out,” said Ellison of this absence. Continue Reading →

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Motivational speaker transfers NBA skills to the business world

Walter Bond teaches audiences the importance of connecting

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

After leaving the NBA, Walter Bond was told he didn’t have enough experience during his job searches. “We’re looking for someone with more experience,” he vividly recalls being told by interviewers who didn’t think playing against and with the world’s best athletes in both college and the pros qualified him for the business world. “You won’t find [any]one more experienced than me,” he told the interviewers. Looking back, Bond said that not getting hired was the best thing that could have happened to him. He has been a motivational speaker for over a decade, appearing before nearly 75 major corporations around the country and teaching his audiences around the world basic principles for success through speeches, workshops, and through his books and CDs. Continue Reading →

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CEO Richburg credits business success to encouragement from others

 

 
Encouraging youth is now her passion
 

By Lisa Bryant

Contributing Writer

 

Sitting down to talk to Dorothy Richburg is like being with a friend. She’s so warm and kind, it’s easy to forget she’s one of the most influential women in the Twin Cities. Richburg is founder and president of KCS, a Maplewood-based information technology solutions company that she and her husband Joe started 25 years ago. The company employs more than 165 people, does business in seven states, and has numerous clients, including several of Minnesota’s largest employers such as General Mills, 3M Company and Medtronic. Richburg’s KCS has been recognized as the 2011 Black Business of the Year by the Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce, the 2011 Supplier of the Year by the Midwest Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC), and the 2011 IT Business of the Year by the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) — Twin Cities Chapter. Continue Reading →

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Advocates of local Black business urge better-educated spending

Advocates of local Black business urge better-educated spending
 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

According to a 2011 Nielsen consumers report, the U.S. Black population’s collective buying power is projected to be $1.1 trillion by 2015. Many community members, hearing that at least $4 billion is spent annually just by Black Minnesotans, are wondering aloud why economic inequalities in the Black community persist. The answer, some say, is in how and where Blacks are spending that money. The report also found that Black households make more shopping trips annually than any other group — they spend more on basic food ingredients and beverages, fragrance and personal health, and beauty products. Despite making more shopping trips overall, Blacks shop at grocery stores, super centers and warehouse stores less than other groups. Continue Reading →

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MN Black Chamber of Commerce honors the best in Black business

 

The Minnesota Black Chamber of Commerce (MBCC) hosted its Fourth Annual UMOJA Awards & Benefit Saturday, December 3, at the Metropolitan Club in Target Field. Despite a persistent snowstorm, hundreds came out to celebrate the accomplishments of the year, acknowledge outstanding entrepreneurs, and encourage college students to continue on their path to graduation. MBCC launched its new College Scholars Program to encourage mentorship of college students and ensure they not only enter college but have the support necessary to complete. Keynote speaker Ryan Mack, CNN financial expert, gave a rousing speech on the importance of remaining humble while giving back and empowering others. Led by Phillip Miner who served as master of ceremonies for the evening, the affair was spotlighted by a live and silent auction, music by C-Sharp, and a traditional African welcome featuring live drumming. Continue Reading →

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