New Savannah pilot program supporting local, minority & female owned business to help keep economy strong

"Savannah First" aims at doing just that, putting locally owned business first

New Savannah pilot program supporting local, minority & female owned business to help keep economy strong

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Wednesday The City of Savannah Economic Development Department teamed up with the Greater Savannah Black Chamber of Commerce to host a Zoom meeting introducing “Savannah First”

The city’s new pilot program is aimed at increasing local and minority business in Savannah, something they believe may be the key to economic success during the pandemic.

“We’re not saying Savannah only but we are saying Savannah first,” said Savannah Mayor Van Johnson.

Mayor Johnson along with Alderwoman Dr. Estella Shabazz showing their support for Savannah’s newest program.

“I am just elated and excited,” said Alderwoman Shabazz.

And they weren't alone.

“This workshop is to go over and introduce Savannah First to the minority and small business communities,” said Marronde Lumpkin-Lotson from the Savannah Office of Business Opportunity.

In fact, more than 80 people tuned in to the Savannah First workshop.

Highlighting the benefits of the program like increasing the incentives for selecting local business bids.

A contracting training program.

Plus, something Mayor Johnson is excited to bring back.

“We are going to reintroduce something I have been very passionate about which is the local minority and women-owned business program.”

Leaders from the Savannah Office of Business Opportunity went step by step through the process of applying for M/WBE as well as the Savannah Business Enterprise Program and Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program.

Programs the Mayor believes will help guide the city through the pandemic economically.

“It is our domestic initiative to help boost our local economy in light of the times we’re going through, through COVID-19.”

A step they feel in the right direction, but just the first of many.

“This is the beginning of many strategic partnerships that will occur from our city to get people engaged and get them involved dealing with the City of Savannah,” said Mayor Johnson.

If you weren’t able to take part in today’s “Savannah First” workshop and you’d like more information you can find a link to the PowerPoint presentation here.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.