Story and photo by ALEXA WELLS
The Utah Black Chamber of Commerce and ACCEL, African-Americans Advancing in Commerce Community Education and Leadership, are both organizations located in Utah with a focus on helping black-owned businesses with networking and coming together in the community.
The Utah Black Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is “to economically empower and sustain African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States and via interaction with the Black Diaspora.”
Stanley Ellington is from Fort Knox, Ky., and has lived in Utah since September 2000. Ellington’s parents are both African American. Ellington has a bachelor’s degree in administrative management from Excelsior College, a master’s degree in management from the University of Phoenix, and is pursing a doctorate degree from Grand Canyon University in organizational leadership with an emphasis in organizational development. With these credentials, Ellington started and became the executive director of the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce.
Ellington has been labeled as the African American representative of business. He is on The Board of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, a licensed Christian minister at the New Zion Baptist Church in Ogden, Utah, is serving as a board member on the Pastor France Davis Scholarship Fund, and is a member of the Junior Achievement of Utah organization.
“I came to Utah to be a leader,” Ellington said.
Another local leader is James Jackson III. He was born and raised in Utah, and attended Cottonwood High School in Murray. He graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in finance and marketing. Jackson took a break from school for about seven years and then went back to obtain his MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Jackson has known what he wanted to do since he was in junior high school: work in the financial industry doing strategic and market planning.
He was a member of the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce until he saw the need to build an organization where the black community can network together. Jackson started ACCEL in the winter of 2009.
ACCEL is for helping black communities with starting new businesses and brings the diverse community together and builds an environment for networking. Utah has many black-owned businesses, and with ACCEL it gives them the resources that they need to gain exposure throughout the community.
With organizations such as the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce and ACCEL, black business owners are able to obtain scholarships and attend seminars and networking events to get their business running.
Both the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce and ACCEL are committed to providing training and education to help business owners become successful. These organizations are looking for ways to teach people how to run a business and share the resources to help them when they need it.
One option Stanley Ellington is considering is offering webinars through the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce.
Job opportunities in Utah are helping to bring more diversity to the state and increase the black population. ACCEL and the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce are both working on helping bring diversity to Utah’s business owners.
Ellington says that he would like to see more ethnic diversity in Utah, since the black population is only 1.3 percent.
Jackson said, “Utah’s economy is fairly stable and the black population is growing. Most African Americans come to Utah because of the job opportunity.”
According to the ACCEL website, “The growth is due to Utah being more stable economically than the national average, as the job rate is increasing faster than the unemployment rate and has an attractive cost of living.”
Derek Miller, active executive director of the governor’s Office of Economic Development, said on the ACCEL webpage, “Utah has been ranked as the No. 1 most dynamic economy in the nation in 2009 and has seen 50% growth since 2007.”
The Utah Black Chamber of Commerce and ACCEL have made goals for improvement during 2013. Ellington is on track to relaunch the UBCC website, and Jackson hopes to offer more events each month, increase the membership base, add a member-to-member discount and improve the website. With these goals, both the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce and ACCEL will continue to be a resource for black-owned businesses in Utah.