One of the most common reasons offered by the City’s big companies about why they don’t do more business with local MBE/WBEs is that they are unfamiliar with their names, their work, and their leaders.
That’s sounds like a chicken-and-egg problem. You can’t get work if nobody knows you; nobody will know you if you don’t work.
There is, however, an interesting program of City government that helps out. Every several months, the City’s development agencies host a reception to spotlight an MBE/WBE to help it network with large companies in its industry. The setting — wine, finger food, and an attentive mayor allows the spotlighted company to begin the sorts of informal conversations that may eventually lead to contractual relationships.
This Thursday, I will be attending a Spotlight Reception for Document Imaging Systems, a minority-owned company located at 1463 S. Vandeventer in The Grove neighborhood.
Document Imaging Systems is already a success story. It graduated from our small business incubator in 1995. Over the years, the development agency has been able to match it with several major St. Louis companies — and I have been able to name it one of the City’s top Businesses of the Year in both 2005 and 2007. Its annual sales now top a million dollars.
Owners Adrienne Scales-Williams and Michael Orr do great work. I am delighted that they have kept their growing company and its jobs in the City of St. Louis. I want everyone to meet them and to learn from their success.