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Elevate Akron Event Connects Minority Business Owners With New Opportunities

10/25/2019

Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Mike Smith is looking for ways to help build his year-old trucking and logistics company, Smooth Transporters. The 37-year-old Kent businessman was among about 100 people who walked into the Bounce Innovation Hub early Thursday afternoon in downtown Akron to network at what was called the “Procurement Corridor.” The program was aimed at connecting minority-owned businesses with other local companies and organizations.  “We haul anything and everything,” Smith said of Smooth Transporters.  And while he has a new contract to do work in Copley, Smith said, “I do a majority of my business in Texas and Louisiana.”  

Early on, he talked with a representative from the Ohio Department of Transportation and moved on to speak with others inside Bounce’s large first-floor meeting space.  “You never know who you can meet. I’m here open-minded,” Smith said.

The Akron Urban League and the Minority Business Assistance Center based in the league’s building co-sponsored the free Thursday event, which ran from noon to 4:30 p.m. at the 526 S. Main St. site.  This first-time program was tied into the Elevate Greater Akron initiative, whose mission includes creating opportunities for the region’s economically excluded minority population.

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