New Network Aims to Give Minority Businesses a Boost - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

New Network Aims to Give Minority Businesses a Boost

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A new group is bringing together business owners from all around the region.

They're meeting every month with the goal of giving minority businesses a boost.

The Minority Business Network launched in December. It's bringing business owners from various industries together to share ideas and develop new opportunities.

Les Haughton, the director of supplier diversity at the University of Virginia, hosts these hour long meetings every month. He describes them as "intensive."

It's made up of established business owners in the Charlottesville- Albemarle area, from caterers, to restaurant owners, to web developers.

A & A Limousine, the Quiznos on Pantops, C'ville Coffee, Zazus Fresh Grille, and Compu Tune Up are some of the businesses involved. The newest business to join is Allora Group Productions, owned by former NBC 29 anchor Stacia Harris.

Haughton helps all members of the network create business opportunities at UVA as well as  hroughout the area.

"We've been pretty successful. A couple of companies have gotten contracts with the university and are optimistic about future opportunities," he said.

Haughton was inspired to start the network after realizing the lack of minority-owned businesses in the region.

"For cities the size of Charlottesville throughout the state of Virginia we really lack minority business development. There's something really, really missing here and there's really no good reason why this should happen so I am committed to making something happen," Haughton said.

And he says what separates the Minority Business Network from other similar groups is his experience. He says his business background makes him more focused.

"I was a VP at Target. I ran Target's largest division and was repsonsible for 4.5 billion in annual sales, so I know how to do business." he said.

"I don't politicize things...And I don't ask members to do work to support the network...They focus on their business and I do all the heavy lifting," Haughton continued, explaining further what separates his group from others.

Haughton makes it clear, though, that those interested do not have to be minority business owners to join the network -- it's open to everyone.

"If a business owner gives me a call, if it's a good fit they join the network," he said.

The Minority Business Network meets on the second Tuesday of every month at noon at C'ville Coffee.

Click here for more information.

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