Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin has been named the 2016 Small & Minority Business Advocate of the Year by the Columbia Chamber for his commitment to the city’s thriving business community and continued support of the Chamber.
“It is truly an honor to be the recipient of this award,” said Mayor Benjamin. “Small and minority-owned businesses contribute immensely to our city, and they play an integral role in economic development and job creation. We have to commit to always supporting them.”
Under Mayor Benjamin, small business initiatives like Work It Up, the Main Street Capital program and the Local Business Retention program have all been created. The Minority Business Advisory Council was created in 2013.
Additionally, Columbia’s Mentor Protégé program has been awarded 74 projects worth more than $55 million to date. More than $17 million (nearly 40 percent) went to minority-owned, women-owned and Small Business Enterprise protégés.
Mayor Benjamin will be honored at the 114th Annual Gala on Sept. 29 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.