joseph_kelley_web_1.jpgOPA-LOCKA – Vice Mayor Joseph L. Kelley and the City of Opa-locka Mayor and Commission in partnership with The Beacon Council hosted an Open for Business, free small business workshop on Thursday, Oct. 10 at Sherbondy Village, Opa-locka.

Beacon Council Vice President of Economic Development and Urban Initiatives Shari Colas-Gervais provided on-screen visuals, handouts, a question-and-answer period, in addition to one-on-one networking. She assisted business owners with material on business set-up, funding resources, business planning, incentives, government contracts, rewards and other available services.

Attorney Robert Rogers of Robert Rogers Law Firm P.A. addressed different types of businesses such as sole proprietorship, general partner, corporate, limited liability corporation, and the legal aspects of the various types of business relationships, licenses and permits.

Cornell Crews, Partners for Self Employment Inc., and Omar Medina of Cinium Financial Services Corp. discussed getting started, technical assistance, coaching, loans, contractors’ working capital, bonding and the need to continuously learn and grow after obtaining a business.

Senen Garcia, of SCORE — a government funded organization — unveiled no cost “simple step programs” on internet marketing, management, operations, accounting and financing. These free development and support programs provide volunteer counselors to help participants understand policies and accomplish their visions.  Garcia said, “We won’t do the work, but we will be there every step of the way to guide you.”

Lori Weldon, Regulatory & Economic Resources and Diana Gonzalez, Port Miami FTZ coordinator, shared knowledge and expertise on the benefits of owning a business in an Enterprise or Foreign Trade Zone, describing incentives based on materials, equipment, employee count, and up to $50,000 in state tax credits. With the expansion of the Panama Canal, Gonzalez affirmed that as the Gateway to the Americas, the advantage from the Foreign Trade Zone will result in “job
creation and benefits to underutilized properties.” 

John Hall, Miami Dade College executive director, representing Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, focused on businesses with “potential to reach their potential” and the importance of growing a business by “increasing the revenue, more than the labor cost.”      

Expressing a desire to continue exploring the service and assistance of the Beacon Council, in attendance were new and well-established members of the Opa-locka business community with varied interest in areas such as spice manufacturing, health and wellness, environmental services, human resource consulting among other topics.

Also present at the workshop were Opa-locka Mayor Myra L. Taylor, Commissioner Luis B. Santiago, City Manager Kelvin Baker Sr., Assistant Manager David Chiverton and Community Development and Planning Director Howard Brown. 

“This successful workshop has inspired my persistence to continue bringing agencies and resources such as the Beacon Council to assist businesses as well as the growth of ‘the great’ City of Opa-locka,” Kelley said.