BCCLC Archives
Press Releases/News
December 16, 2006

By Arthur J. Gass, President

    The Re-Genesis of Economic and Community Development within the depressed communities of Lake County.

    The Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County will be the leading agency to partner with existing business entities to
    develop a comprehensive strategic initiative to turn this tide of poverty, at minimum, to a level of self sufficiency.

    The Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County is organized
    to achieve the two objectives:

     1)  Preserving the competitive enterprise system of business by:

                  •   creating a better understanding and appreciation of the
                       importance of business people and a concern for their problems;

                  •   educating the business community and representing them in
                       city, county, state and national legislative and political affairs;

                  •   preventing or addressing controversies which are detrimental
                       to expansion and growth of business and the  community

                     creating a greater appreciation of the value of investment of
                       substance and self on behalf of the interests of competitive

     2)  Promoting business and community development growth by:

                  •    promoting economic programs designed to strengthen and
                        expand the income potential of all member businesses in
                        Lake County

                  •    promoting programs of civic, social and cultural nature
                        which are designed to increase the functional and image
                        of the community

                  •    discovering and correcting abuses which prevent the
                        promotion of business expansion and community growth.

    The problem grows worse each day. The government has spent an immeasurable amount of dollars trying to reverse the
    trend, but the cycle continues to spiral upward. To compliment their efforts they have concluded that by using faith-based
    agencies (the local churches) as a channel to send even more money,  that somehow this will reverse this spiral of social

    While I can appreciate the government’s effort, social programs will not solve the economic and social ills within the inner
    cites. If we would be earnest with our analysis and speak the truth, these programs have only been a spoon of water on
    this vast fire that is burning out of control.

    As the Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County, we want to take the initiative and lead the community into the realm of
    inclusion in economic development. I believe we can no longer sit by and blame others for our plight. We must take the lead
    and lead our people to economic prosperity just as we took the lead and led them too social acceptance in society
    during the era of the civil rights movement.

    Just as we did then, we do now, we need help, and I believe people will
    be more incline to help us when they see us taking the initiative to do something yourself. So that begs the question:

    How Do we really grow Minority owned Businesses so they can be an intricate part of
    mainstream development???

    As a minority community, we must position ourselves with the pool of
    talent, and the consortium of minority owned businesses to take advantage of this interest of economic motivation as an
    opportunity for economic development. In other words, we must prepare ourselves to be included in mainstream economic

    As a competitive community within Lake County, the minority community must be a part of this healthy and vibrant economic
    structure that is flourishing in this wealthy county. We must cultivate those individuals
    with the leadership skills as leaders, to champion the cause for the
    sharing of the wealth.

    Every business enterprise must have the flexibility to change its course when the hand writing of failure is on the wall. Any
    competitive community must realize that their minority business programs must be sustainable, must be market driven and
    increase overall community capacity.

    The success factors, that must drive minority business development is:  

    1.    Select the Right Target Business – Our focus must be on the minority businesses that display the capability to grow.
    Remember, those businesses that grow are the ones that will create jobs, they will create wealth and inspire more
    businesses that have the potential to grow also. We must
    seek out those individuals with a track record of success, a growth orientation and a business that provides value. The
    development of these growth-oriented businesses will create the environment for more
    successful minority businesses.

    2.    Develop Realistic Expectations – The model for growing sizable
    minority businesses must be on quality and growth opportunity, not
    quantity. The Mission of any business must be clear and expectations must be at a reasonable level. Your budgeted goals
    must be realistic simply because you will commit to there achievement. Growing any business is a focus on the realistic
    potential to grow, create jobs, wealth.  

    3.    Build Investment Strategies – In business the two things that are
          consistent is:
           1.) Deals take longer to happen than you anticipate and
           2.) business grows slower than you expect.

    4.    Promote, Align and Enforce Core Business Principles – Businesses that demand a significant amount of Research &
    Development or demand an economy of scale that will take a finite time to create are often good candidates for subsidies.
    Always remember, that business is fundamentally, based on both the creation of value and a business model, which are
    designed to generate profits. If there is no value created and no profits generated, there is no reason to invest in that

    5.     Make a Paradigm Shift from Social to Economic - We do not need leaders who bring a social agenda, a social
    background, or social thinking. The outcomes will look like welfare programs more than economic development initiatives.

    The motivation should and must be economic and a forum for the community to prosper together. With this motivation, it will
    be easy to attract the interest of important stake-holders if they have a clear, compelling and profit reason to be interested.

    6.    Do Not Misdiagnose - Although access to capital, access to markets and access to technical assistance are critical areas
    and can be treated with a strategic program, the root cause to the problem of success is credibility and actionable
    relationships or networking. It’s not always what you know, but it’s who you know. If you are going to run with the big dogs,
    you must prepare for this marathon.

    7.    Ignore the Skeptics – There is a mind-set that is within both communities and must be addressed and corrected. The
    historical baggage of race in our country has embedded in much of Black-America’s minds that blacks want trust each other
    and want help one another. For the most part, the white communities have created a sense that no matter what we do, we
    will never make this situation better. The premise for this is that you have always viewed results from fail social agendas and
    not investment strategies. Why do we promote myths that are meaningless?

    The bottom-line is: if we are going to accelerate the growth of the most accelerate-able minority businesses for the purpose
    of building the economic capacity of the community, they must be lead by people with the experience and the expertise to
    make that happen.

    To change the way we do minority business development in our current environment takes three key elements:

    1.        A strong leader with vision of the next evolution of race and business in this county. Someone needs to bring the
    various stakeholders together and garner the support, set the new tempo and create the bold new vision that includes
    every square mile and every segment of the population in the economic development. As the Black Chamber of Commerce of
    Lake County we want to earn that spot. As the euphoria is building all across this nation with the formation of Black
    Chambers we must market our successes.
    We have networks established on the State and National levels to expand and enhance this effort.

    2.        A shift in thinking, conversion and action from a social construct to investment. Until communities treat minority
    business as an investment it will struggle to make the type of progress needed to keep a community competitive. Minority
    Owned Businesses must be seen as equally important as other critical community investments.

    3.        Minority business development needs a coordinated plan. Everything we care about has a plan on how we will get it
    done. Not only does the coordinated plan insure that we get it done, it serves as a tool how we will measure success and
    how we will continue to make it better. Competitive communities of the future will demonstrate early, the reality of a new
    way of looking at the growth of minority businesses by creating a plan to make it work.
President Gives Inaugural Speech
"Room is Speechless"
Dear Chamber Members,

We are proud to announce the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce won 2 Illinois Dept of Transportation supportive services contracts. We
won the entire state for technical assistance (Districts 1 - 9) and we won (Districts 4 - 6) for Business Development Assistance.

This is a huge win for the Black Business Community. Special thanks to Larry Ivory former Chairman/CEO of the Peoria Black Chamber of
Commerce it was their Construction Capacity Building Program produced the best numbers for black contractors in the state on IDOT
related contracts. The Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County, Inc. was very involved in submitting this proposal along with other
Chambers in the state. More info will be shared as it becomes available.

We are heading to the
National Black Chamber of Commerce 15th Annual Convention in New Orleans, La. July 25-28, 2007.
www.nationalbcc.org The Illinois Black Chamber was selected State Black Chamber of the Year Yes!!!by the National Black Chamber of
Commerce and we will receive an award at the National Convention next week. We are one of presenters at the convention. Congrats
Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce and our President Mr. Larry Ivory.

Arthur J. Gass Sr.
Black Chamber of Commerce Lake County, Inc.
July 2007

Black Expo & Upscale Art Show Update               

For Immediate Release:        
For additional information contact Elroy Reed 847-473-5501

Black Expo to be held October 20 at CLC

(August 15, 2007, North Chicago, Illinois)

The People’s Voice Newspaper and Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake
County proudly announce the inaugural Black Expo and Upscale Art Show
of Lake County. This historical event will take place October 20, 2007, from
10am to 4 pm, at the College of Lake County, 19351 West Washington,
Grayslake Campus in the Gymnasium.

The Black Expo and Upscale Art Show is a consumer event and open to the
public.  At the Expo, area businesses will showcase their products and
Featured will be African American artists and authors who will be available
to sign their works. Some invited artists and authors include Elbert Franklin,
Bruce Brown, Rhonda Gray, Yvonne Pitts and Eleanor Taylor Bland.
As part of the event, there will be an entertainment stage which will include
Gospel Music, a Talent Contest, Juz Jokin Comedy Club and Rhythm and
Blues Music.
Nationally known motivational speaker and author Andrew Brown will co-host
the event along with syndicated radio personality Effie Rolfe.
The Lake Forest Care Coach will be on hand for health check-ups. There will
be programming for children. There will be food, fun and information for the
entire family.
Everyone is invited.
The event is sponsored by the College of Lake County, PACTIV, Inc., EDS,
Inc, Black Chamber of Commerce of Lake County, The People’s Voice, with
media sponsors V103 and WNUA radio.

A limited number of booths are still available.  For more information, please
contact Cheryl Dunlap, event coordinator, at 847-473-5501.  You may also
find out more information or register as a vendor by going to the Black
Chamber of Commerce website at www.bccoflakecounty.com.
IDOT Contracts Awarded to IL Black Chamber

Black Businesses and Communities:

The 2nd Annual Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce convention was a
success. We would like to thank our board members, sponsors, State of
Illinois Departments (Dept of Transportation (I.D.O.T) - Central Management
Services (CMS), Dept of Commerce and Economic Opportunities (DCEO),
Illinois Housing Development Authority (IDHA),Illinois Dept of Employment
Security (IDES) ,Dept of Public Health attendees, speakers and black
business owners. Special thanks to our fearless national leader Harry C.
Alford, Pres/CEO, National Black Chamber and Kay Debow, Executive
V.P.-National Black Chamber and Chuck Debow, Special Projects
Co-Ordinator, National Black Chamber-John Harmon-Trenton, NJ
African-American Chamber of Commerce-Jerry Mitchell-North Alabama,
Pres/CEO-North Alabama-Black Chamber of Commerce and IL Senior
Senator Dick Durbin and Congressmen Danny K. Davis (7th Congressional
District) for attending and supporting our efforts in Illinois.

Several Announcements were made at the convention.  

1). National Black Chamber Pres/CEO Harry C. Alford announced that he
would lead a nationwide tour along with Larry D. Ivory, Pres/CEO-Illinois
Black Chamber of Commerce and Arness Dancy, Pres/CEO-Englewood
Black Chamber of Commerce to showcase best practices of the Illinois
Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc.  We will start in San Diego, CA where
black business owners received $0 dollars in Dept of Transportation

2) George Curry, former editor emerge magazine will lead our efforts along
with Lou Ransom, Publisher-Chicago Defender to merge black media
along with black businesses. We will start in Illinois and move around the

3) Larry D. Ivory, Pres/CEO announced Arness Dancy, Pres/CEO -
Englewood Black Chamber will lead a delegation of Black Chamber
Presidents for training (Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Section 3 of
the HUD Act).  We will fly to Washington,DC for training under the National
Black Chamber of Commerce and a meeting with Secretary Alphonso
Jackson - HUD.

Pictures from the convention can be viewed at
http://www.anointedphotography.com/  click on view photos, select BCC or
2nd Annual Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce Convention - enter your
email and all the pics from the convention will appear.

Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce and Illinois NAACP has forged an
alliance on economic and social issues. Progress in the making. Thanks
Don Jackson, Pres/CEO Illinois NAACP

We have partnered with three of our National Members who are three of
largest Black Real Estate Developers and Construction Companies in the
world. KBK Enterprises, Smoot Construction and Peebles Development
Corp.  We will focus on developing black communities here in Chicago.
Note: KBK won $250 million of the $1.2 billion in contracts recently let the
Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) to rebuild New Orleans.  We look
forward in working together for a better future.

Save the date: 15th Anniversary of the National Black Chamber of
Commerce, Inc.  We will celebrate in Washington, DC at the French
Embassy in May (2008). You don't want to miss this historic celebration.  
The National Black Chamber of Commerce is directly responsible for black
business owners receiving over $4 billion in contracts and other
opportunities. Thanks so much Harry and Kay for all you do for the black

Best Regards,

Arness Dancy, Pres/CEO, Englewood Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc
Regional V.P. - Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (www.ilbcc.org)
Arthur J. Gass Sr. (www.bccoflakecounty.com)
2nd Annual Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce
Convention was a great Success
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