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In the USA he spoke with the Director of the Office of Economic Development and Small Business in Broward, Sandy-Michael McDonald about his work in the county towards the attraction and orientation of small companies interested in doing business with the county. This office is fully registered for some 730 small businesses in the county.
One of the recommendations made by your director is that before starting a business in Broward, check with this office, especially if you plan to do business with the government of this county, see the opportunities and how to navigate through that process.
Can you provide general guidance on the responsibilities of the Broward County Small Business and Economic Development Division and its objectives?
The office on behalf of the county works to enhance the economic vitality of Broward and does so in coordination with its community partners and cities. We seek to improve the stability and expansion of existing businesses in Broward County, as well as work to attract new ones, especially those who pay high wages to the county. There are multiple initiatives and programs that we use to support this growth and that of Broward businesses. We have the Entrepreneurship Program, International Trade (Export), Workforce Development and Apprenticeship Programs. We are known primarily for our small business program that supports the use of locally certified small businesses in county procurement.
1. Create a vibrant economy with a diverse and skilled workforce in a county that offers unique advantages that attract all types of businesses to create equitable prosperity across the county.
2. Ensure economic opportunity for all people and businesses in Broward.
3. Highlight the "Broward" brand on county properties, programs and services
4. Constantly provide responsive, efficient and quality services to the public and internal customers.
During the seven and a half years that you have served as a small business director, have you seen changes in the way Hispanic-owned businesses have increased in interest and number? Do you have any statistics on this?
Broward County operates a race and gender neutral small business certification program. This means that there is no specific ethnicity or gender for business owners seeking certification. However, since I have served as a director, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses has grown by more than 60%.
Do you have orientation programs and / or seminars to guide Hispanic-owned businesses before and after they open in Broward County?
We host workshops for all of our businesses and in the last two years we have done even more, specifically for our Hispanic population in Spanish. Feel free to see the link to our most recent workshop for Hispanic-owned businesses called Doing Business With Broward County. We will continue these workshops in the future.
In your experience, what do you recommend to a new business in Broward once it starts operating?
The first thing is that they learn and understand how the Broward government works. Even if they are not interested in public procurement, they could still get business start-up and business plan assistance.
How many small Broward businesses are registered with your office?
There are approximately 730 certified small businesses in our program.
What message do you want to send to the general public and small businesses about the local government agency you lead?
I need our small business community to know that there are business opportunities here in Broward County. Our office can help develop business to participate. We want the public to know that we want to keep most of the county's money here in Broward to support the businesses that are here, that hire within the county, and that spend money earned in Broward.