April Word from the Chairman

Turner_Annie-Chairmans-photo-PRAt the beginning of this year, I made a commitment to guide the North SA Chamber to focus on veterans, workforce development, small business advancement, the millennial workforce and community collaboration to promote our mission to strengthen member businesses and the community through the delivery of advocacy, networking, recognition, leadership and professional development programs.

To date, the North SA Chamber has approved and extended a 15% discount to Veteran-owned businesses as a way to assist veterans transitioning from the military to civilian workforce. The discount is effective immediately for veteran-owned businesses who are new members joining the chamber.

Additionally, we just completed the call for nominations for the Small Business Leaders Awards (SBLA) program, and new this year – we’ll be recognizing a Veteran-Owned business leader and a Non-Profit organization, as well as present awards in the following categories: Small Business Leader of the Year, Small Business Advocate of the Year, Career Achievement, Community Service, Business Achievement, Business Innovation, Employee Relations and New Business. Stay tuned to learn who the finalists will be.

Workforce Development, Small Business Advancement
Through our programming, the North SA Chamber strives to meet the needs of businesses for a readied workforce and ongoing professional development. We know you’re looking for quality continuing education for your team and qualified applicants.

Recognizing the growing time scarcity among busy professionals, the North SA Chamber has explored online training offerings to provide a more vast range of course topics and to accommodate members’ busy schedules. We’re excited to announce, through a partnership with online training provider Coggno, the delivery of a comprehensive Training Online Shop featuring thousands of courses covering a range of subjects from human resources and safety to business and sales. As part of the launch, the North SA Chamber is offering each member company one free online class, as well as a webinar on Tuesday, May 6, at 11:30 a.m. to learn more about utilizing the Training Online Shop. For more details, please see the complete article in the Special Alert section of this issue of the eNews.

Additionally, at no additional cost – member businesses may post job openings to the online Job Bank, and the online search tool is a free community resource to job seekers. We have been promoting the Job Bank this year to veterans, transitioning professionals, college students and recent grads through the North SA Chamber website, eNews and social media, as well as at trade shows throughout the year to assist you in accessing a larger pool of applicants. Remember – the online tool is as valuable as the content in it, so please post career opportunities at your company. Click here for member login access and instructions for posting jobs.

Moreover, we want to help veterans, millennial workers and just about every professional in any interest area to access resources to sharpen their professional skills and build relationships through our various instructional and networking events and volunteer opportunities. I encourage each of you to review the various North SA Chamber Participation Opportunities and find a committee on which you can serve and make an impact.

Community Collaboration
The North SA Chamber has been working with members and community partners to develop, present and review issues that affect our members’ profitability and overall quality of life.

Already this year, we participated in the SA Conversations series in collaboration with the San Antonio, South and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce to host special guests U.S. Representative Paul Ryan and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio along with moderator Evan Smith, Editor in Chief of the Texas Tribune.

SA Conversations is a series of discussions for the business community to hear from elected officials – beyond the Texas Delegation – who serve in critical roles in commerce, transportation, entrepreneurship and other areas for the purpose of addressing the critical issues that affect enterprise.

We’re very excited to partner with these organizations once again to host a very special guest – the U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner on Monday, May 12, at the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click here for more information or to register.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my Chamber service is the recognition of what small business owners – particularly women business owners – have done in our community. We are now seeking applications for the ATHENA Leadership Awards® Program.

The North SA Chamber is an ATHENA International Founding Lifetime Memberandthe exclusive, local host organization – in partnership with the National ATHENA Foundation, for the presentation of the prestigious ATHENA Leadership Awards® Program which honors rising stars, seasoned professionals and model organizations with the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, ATHENA Leadership Award and ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award.

Nominations are solicited and an ATHENA sculpture is awarded to local leaders and a business/organization who meet specific criteria at the annual Enterprising Women’s Conference – this year scheduled for Friday, September 26. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Leadership Awards® Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

Please help us to recognize local leaders by nominating a deserving individual or organization and encourage him/her to submit a completed application by Friday, June 6. Download nomination forms here.

40 Years of Keeping Bexar County Strong
I appreciate your membership, participation and volunteerism with the North San Antonio Chamber and invite you to join a committee, attend an event or just follow us in our social media communities. We’re a 40-year-strong, vibrant business network thanks to you, your membership and all that you do keep San Antonio and Bexar County strong.

San Antonio Housing Authority – Committed to working with local businesses

SAHA_LOGO_CMYK_HorizontalThe San Antonio Housing Authority’s (SAHA) Board of Commissioners has made working with small and minority-owned businesses a priority. One related initiative is the Business Opportunity Academy (BOA) for Small, Minority, Women, Veteran, Disabled Individual Business Enterprise, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and/or Historically Underutilized Business that are seeking help to grow their businesses.

Led by SAHA, the BOA provides 12 hours of instruction, presented through workshops, hands-on seminars and networking functions over a course of four weeks.

In 2013, SAHA awarded 77% of its contract awards to minority-owned or women-owned firms. With a number of local construction projects underway, SAHA continues to be committed to investing in the capacity of local businesses and engaging small, minority and women-owned businesses. SAHA is also committed to the Section 3 Program, a federal requirement and a priority for the Agency, which aims to ensure that job opportunities are generated by HUD-funded expenditures.

“I appreciate SAHA’s commitment to working with our small-, minority- and women-owned businesses,” says District Two City Councilwoman Ivy R. Taylor. “Their help in growing these businesses allows for more opportunities to be secured through contracts and subcontracts with prime firms that have viable, robust plans to hire Section 3 individuals.”

Local agencies involved in the Academy included VIA Metropolitan Transit, Alamo Colleges, UT Health Science Center, San Antonio Water System, Edwards Aquifer Authority, CPS Energy, Port San Antonio, San Antonio River Authority, University Health System, Bexar County, City of San Antonio and ACCION Women’s Business Center.

“SAHA is committed to investing our time and resources to help build the capacity of local businesses,” says Lourdes Castro Ramírez, SAHA president and CEO. “Through the BOA and our SAHA partners, we are working to maximize the achievements of small businesses.”

When Bryan Karp, co-owner of H. Karp Co., a 37-year-old small construction company, first heard about the BOA, he had some reservations. Brian Karp“I figured it was for startups and not for established businesses like mine,” said Karp. He was among the first 20 BOA participants who received 10 hours of instruction over a course of four weeks, including one-on-one assistance from lenders, accountants and surety underwriters, to help them on the path to secure bonding and greater financial viability.

“I was very impressed with the curriculum and I’ve learned the importance of networking and of diversifying the services we offer,” says Karp. “This course is vital for small businesses – old and new. Everybody needs to take it.”

For more information on the next Business Opportunity Academy, contact SAHA’s Business Opportunity Manager Tomas Larralde at 210-477-6550 or Tomas_Larralde@saha.org.