Originally created 02/26/03

Technology called key to success



Georgia's top minority business official told a group of female and minority entrepreneurs Tuesday that mastering technology is their key to success.

He also advised them to form more strategic alliances with one another, and cautioned them against overlooking inner-city markets, where more than $85 billion is spent each year.

"We need to rethink how we look at each other business-wise," said Robert M. Henderson, the regional director of the Commerce Department's Minority Business Development Agency. "There's nothing wrong with selling to other minorities."

The veteran economic developer spoke to more than 150 people at the Minority Enterprise Conference & Expo at the Belair Conference Center. The event also featured procurement officials from more than three dozen regional governmental entities and corporations, said Helen Blocker-Adams, the president of the The National Center for Economic Development, Business & Technology in Augusta, the event organizer.

During his keynote speech, Mr. Henderson said keeping up with technological changes is paramount to the growth of female- and minority-owned businesses, particularly small ones struggling to do business with large government entities and major corporations.

Such small firms should be involved in business-to-business e-commerce, which helps level the playing field.

"When you go online, they (the customers) don't know how big you are," he said, adding that corporate online purchase grew from $15 billion in 1998 to $175 billion last year.

Reach Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or dcline@augustachronicle.com.