Mercedes-Benz of Cincinnati & Mercedes-Benz of West Chester: Contributions from Chambers of Commerce
GREATER CINCINNATI CHINESE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Since the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce started about 10 years ago, it has focused on helping local businesses develop markets in China, but the new executive director plans to expand the scope of services. China has had one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with its gross domestic product reaching $15 trillion last year and a population of more than a billion people.
“Just 20 or 30 years ago there were hardly any wealthy people in China,” says Tessa Xuan, executive director of the local chamber. “Now there are many rich people, and families with private businesses who are exploding with wealth.”
Xuan, who took the job in January, is second-generation Chinese-American. Her family is originally from Beijing and Zhejiang province. She earned a degree in biochemistry from Ohio State University and started working for Procter & Gamble in 2012 in research and development.
The chamber has about 150 members, ranging from small businesses such as the Oriental Wok to large companies like Kroger or DHL. The chamber has provided resources, workshops and counsel on how to enter the Chinese marketplace and how to conduct business.
“The value the Chinese Chamber offers our community is expertise in regards to doing business with Greater China,” says Michael Kou, president of Growth By Export and a previous board chair of the organization. “A separate chamber is necessary because there are few places in Cincinnati where the community can turn to for assistance.”
Xuan plans to continue building on chamber programs that help local businesses enter and succeed in the Chinese market. At the same time, she wants to expand services that help local Chinese-Americans launch and grow a business, along with helping Chinese students at local universities thrive in American business.
“Because of language and cultural barriers, many Chinese-American business owners don’t reach out for help,” Xuan says. “We hope to change that.”
For example, Xuan says, Chinese-American business owners are often using 1990s-style marketing techniques and not utilizing the internet for marketing purposes.
“Marketing support and business strategy are areas where we can really help our members,” Xuan says.
The chamber is working on developing a series of workshops, seminars and other learning opportunities for local entrepreneurs. In August, it held a seminar on e-commerce in the Chinese marketplace, which is nearly a $600 billion industry and growing.
For more information, please visit www.china-midwest.com.
GREATER CINCINNATI AND NORTHERN KENTUCKY AFRICAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce has made significant contributions to the community since it was founded in 1996. Today, it plans to expand services, benefits and membership under new leadership.
Eric H. Kearney was hired as president and chief executive officer of the organization that has more than 300 members. Kearney, who was hired in April, previously served as an Ohio State Senator from the 9th District.
He co-owns Sesh Communications with his wife, Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney. The company publishes the Cincinnati Herald, Northern Kentucky Herald and the Dayton Defender newspapers. His wife currently runs the company.
“The Chamber mission is to establish, cultivate and strengthen relationships between our businesses, consumers and the broader community,” says Kearney. “We are aggressively implementing new programming, services and benefits.” A small selection of the programs is outlined below.
For African American entrepreneurs, the chamber offers a variety of programming to help members learn the basics of doing business in the Greater Cincinnati community. Many of these businesses are first generation companies.
Business Basics for small and medium-size businesses includes regular informational sessions on a variety of topics. One recent session focused on business insurance, a topic many owners may or may not consider. “Just knowing the types of insurance available to various businesses is an invaluable service,” states Kearney.
“African Americans often believe if you fail in business, you pack up and go home,” Kearney adds. “In fact, many people fail in business – some more than once – but they keep trying until they succeed.” “How Did They Do that?” is a new program, which will give minority business owners an opportunity to share with Chamber members the difficult times they endured and how they overcame obstacles to find success.
The Chamber will also offer the opportunity for members to meet with a business analyst to review their financials. Comparing their business to national averages of similar sized operations will help benchmark how they are performing compared with their peers.
Kearney concludes, “Everyone, regardless of who they are, is welcome to check us out to see what we can do to help them grow their business. Anyone who mentions they read this story in LEAD Magazine can attend a Chamber event without charge as my guest.”
For more information call 513.751.9900 or visit www.african-americanchamber.com
INDIAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF GREATER CINCINNATI AND NORTHERN KENTUCKY
The Indian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky was founded in 2010 to serve more than 15,000 people of Indian descent in the area.
“A group of young professionals from all parts of India decided the best way to unite our communities was to form an organization focused on business,” says Lindsay Wilhelm of D.A.G. Construction, a board member of the organization. During the research and planning phase for the chamber, the founders discovered there was widespread interest in the local business community to conduct business with India.
The chamber provides a variety of programs, services and support to help local Indian people better understand the American business culture, and work through the logistics to launch and grow a business. In addition, there are programs to help the non-Indian local business community learn how to conduct business in India, one of the world’s largest nations with more than a billion people and a fast-growing economy.
“We work to unlock perceived barriers between Indian professionals and member companies across Cincinnati,” says Daniel Rajaiah, the executive director who took the position in September 2015. Prior to that, Rajaiah was on the staff of Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.
“The relationship between India and the USA has changed,” says Rajaiah. “In the last few years, Americans have stopped asking what we as a nation can do for India and now the business community is asking, ‘What can we do with India?’”
The chamber is working to help answer some of those questions for local businesses and strengthening the relationship between Indian Americans, companies based in India and Cincinnati corporations.
For more information, please visit www.indianchambercincinnati.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MASON-DEERFIELD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The Mason-Deerfield Chamber of Commerce has served the northeastern Greater Cincinnati business community for nearly 50 years.
About five years ago, the chamber was struggling financially and almost shut its doors, says Dr. George Sehi, Chair of the Board of Directors. But the organization is now thriving after a board and staff reorganization, name change, membership survey to identify needs and other changes.
“We have new board members who are hands on, and working hard to ensure the successes of our members,” Sehi says. “We are constantly checking in with our members to see how we can help.”
Sehi says the name change from North East Chamber to Mason-Deerfield makes it clear the area served by the chamber. Another change was to bring back the government affairs team that can build more collaboration between Warren County and area businesses. “Now our objectives at the chamber are in sync with the county and that level of collaboration is critical for economic growth.”
The chamber has also expanded its program offerings and networking opportunities. “We hold educational events monthly at no cost to members (that) are designed to address challenges the business community faces,” says Sherry Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the chamber.
A good example is the one-day seminar in August for members to learn about the new U.S. Department of Labor rules changes about overtime pay.
In addition, groups like the Women in Business Advisory Council provide activities for professional women to network and develop leadership skills.
The chamber delivers a Community Basket to the homes of each new resident in the Mason City School District that amounts to about 75 families a month. This is a great way for the chamber and its members to connect with the community.
“Something is always happening at the chamber,” Sehi says.
For more information, please visit www.madechamber.org or email email@example.com.