GNHBPA was created to empower minority and female-owned businesses. Through its professional staff and dedicated volunteers, minority owned small business have received support towards reaching often-difficult road of profitability. GNHBA provides support through its massive business network, technical support, and training resources, which help hundreds of firms to become established profitable enterprises.
GNHBPA grew out of the need in the early sixties for Black businessmen and professionals to band together for: (1) Mutual support; (2) to become aware of services being provided by Black professionals other than the legal and medical/dental areas; (3) to gain access to business capital; (4) create a network of trained, knowledgeable and influential friends with a common ethnic background.
The organization was founded by a genesis group, all New Haven based, consisted of Edward Cherry, an Architect in private practice; Gerald Clark, Owner of a private insurance agency; the Rev. William Philpot, Pastor of Community Baptist Church; Zollie Stringer, Social Worker at the Dixwell Community House (Q-House) and Dr. Lylburn Downing, a Dentist in private practice. This fledging group met over a period to discuss their vision and goals. As time went by other known Black business and professional individuals were invited to join the group until it was agreed that a legal organization was necessary. Attorney Herb Scott volunteered his legal expertise to incorporate the group's philosophy onto paper. The name "Greater New Haven Business & Professional Men's Association" was chosen. Later, due to the sensitivity to the role that women such as Katherine Jackson Harris and others began to play in business and the professions, the name was changed to “The Greater New Haven Business & Professional Association".
With an initial grant from the New Haven Foundation (now known as The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven), the organization began to provide Black businesses with needed business technical assistance with Gerald Clark, an MBA graduate from New York University, heading up the bulk of the work as the first Executive Director.
From that early beginning the organization evolved into a major minority consulting entity with contracts and grants from the State of Connecticut, the United States Department of Commerce, City of New Haven and others offering business technical assistance, construction contractor assistance, loan packaging help and practical business advice.
Recent trends are compelling more Americans to move from the work force to being small business owners, with this in mind, over the past year, GNHBPA has helped hundreds of minority owned businesses to become established through its programs which grant access to its network, provide technical support and training resources. These same businesses have been offered the opportunity to receive information on contracting opportunities, training experiences, and supports such as healthcare coverage. Through our partnership with Access Health CT, GNHBPA offered its members on site information and enrollment. Last, we continue to be responsive to the needs of the member firms, which have compelled attention towards building partnerships and collaborations with similarly situated organizations as well as those, which will offer new opportunities.
GNHBPA needs the following: 1. Strategic planning that will guide its future in the changing landscape and allow it to explore new revenue opportunities; 2. Succession planning; 3. Updated computer equipment; 4. an enhanced website and social media outlets; 5. marketing support, which would develop better messaging.
Greater New Haven Business and Professional Association, Inc. were founded to support and provide assistance to minority owned businesses nearly 50 years ago. Since 1965, the GNHBPA addresses equity and opportunity for the minorities in business, employment, and economic development.
We continue to believe in our purpose from nearly 50 years ago. To that end, we encourage and support the pursuit of entrepreneurship, business, professional excellence, and economic empowerment.
Our principles are:
To facilitate access to people and resources.
To identify and reward excellence in achievement.
To establish linkages and co-operate with other organizations on matters pertaining to business, economic development and community wellness.
To build cross-cultural understanding and promote equity.
Currently, the Board of Directors is focused on three areas: 1. To increase funding so that it can stabilize existing programs and serve new and existing business organizations, 2. To complete a strategic planning process so that it can align current programs with current economic trends and those on the rise; 3. To develop a succession plan that will allow a smooth transition between the foundation members and new leadership without destabilize the organization. With these three goals on the forefront of the work of the Board, we continue to remain fiscally responsible, dedicated, and committed. In addition, we continue to embrace our vast network of talent to provide assistance, guidance, and leadership that enhance the programmatic offerings of the organization.
Since the inception of the GNHBPA, Gerald Clark has served as its faithful executive director. Mr. Clark has an extensive history operating his own insurance firm in the city of New Haven. He brings his years of professional experience, knowledge of the landscape of the city of New Haven and the various available programs and his extensive network as tools that guide his work as the executive director. A quiet but passionate leader and team player, he is able to identify opportunities and to activate resources as needed. Mr. Clark is a strong resource that upholds the efforts of the GNHBPA.
GNHBPA is at a crossroads in relation to its future path. We believe that by undertaking an opportunity to examine its efforts using fresh eyes it can freely consider all aspects of its programs for the sake of improving its organizational structure and promoting sustainability for the organization. The intended goals of the project would enrich GNHBPA and provide it with a much-needed organizational diagnosis that would allow it to continue supporting minority business owners. Success would be provide GNHBPA with a map that leads to its future through action steps that through organizational exploration of the major components of its business model can ensure overall sustainability.
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