Economic Opportunity Initiatives
Since 2013, the Chamber has been purposeful about making our board, staff and membership more diverse, with the overall goal of being an inclusive, approachable resource for diverse-owned businesses and diverse employees of our member businesses. Some efforts include:
Diverse Professionals Roundtable
As a result of conversations with community leaders, the Chamber launched the Diverse Professional Roundtable (DPR) in January 2017. The program serves as a resource for the vibrant business, educational, and civic community of Central Massachusetts on diversity-related issues critical to building inclusive organizations and peaceful communities. Through roundtable discussions and planned events targeted to advancing diversity and encouraging underrepresented emerging professionals, DPR members grow and expand their influence and make a positive impact on the Worcester community. We have had approximately 45 members since DPR began.
This annual event is a joint effort between the Chamber and the SBA to support businesses in our community who may not be well-networked with our region’s business resources, including minority-, immigrant-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses. The event started in 2016 and consists of expert panels, success stories, and resource marketplace. We typically get over 100 attendees.
Pacesetters is a program spearheaded by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. We work with large and midsized companies and anchor institutions committed to using their procurement purchasing power to close the racial wealth gap by intentionally increasing spend with businesses of color. Our Pacesetter companies demonstrate their commitment to increasing their supplier diversity in both dollars and deals. Pacesetter companies also share best practices in championing supplier diversity across local, state and national lines.
Diverse owned business Directory
In the spring of 2018, the Chamber hosted a series of focus groups in collaboration with CWE and the City, with a goal of better understanding how we can best support diverse owned businesses. We had a series of separate sessions for LGBTQ, people of color, immigrant and refugees, veteran and women business owners. One outcome of the listening session was the development of the City’s diverse owned business directory which can be accessed here.