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A summary of ALG’s Virtual Business Summit

The Virtual Business Summit was organized by the African leadership Group’s Business Economic Opportunity Committee. It was held virtually via Zoom on Saturday June 27th from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

The event was organized to address current and ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses and individuals in our community. The event headliner was “Managing Business resources and Access to Capital: Navigating your Business through the Covid-19 Era.”

We kicked off the event with an introduction by Papa Dia, President/ Founder of ALG, followed by a quick overview of the Business Economic Opportunity Committee mission, introduction of committee members and the event speakers by yours truly, Solomon Muwanga, chairman of the committee.

The presentations/discussions were moderated by Jamal Bowen. Outlined below is brief overview of the presenters, topic and subject matter discussed by each professional:

Marketing Your Business

  • Jamal Bowen – Business Professor at Community College or Denver, Founder/ Empowering Entrepreneurs. Moderator and Speaker. Bowen discussed the importance of marketing and creating long term relationships for businesses.
  • Marisela Parraquez – Project Manager, World Trade Center. She described programs offered by her office, expanding markets for your products, and the Google Program marketing tool.
  • Rosy McDonough – Director, Colorado Minority Business Office, Office of Economic Development and International Trade. McDonough elaborated upon how to market to local, state, and federal governments, as well as tools and systems her office offers.

Business Grants and Loans

  • Mark Meihofer – Vice President, Business Development Officer, MidWestOne Bank. He described current Small Business Administration financing programs, including the Payment Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and payment relief for 7A and 504 programs.
  • Solomon Muwanga – VP Commercial Banking, MidWestOne Bank. I provided information on the Federal Reserve Mainstreet Loan program and temporary payment relief for bank conventional commercial loan programs.
  • Agraj Dangal – Operations Officer, Community Enterprise Development Services (CEDS). Dangal presented on what CEDS offers to the community, including micro-lending programs and Covid-19 specific programs.
  • Rosy McDonough— Detailed and discussed new and ongoing state financing and grant resources for Covid-19.

Tax and Legal Issues

  • Tony Frimpong – CPA, Owner Jerouyaf Accounting and Tax Services. He described the tax implications of and changes brought about by Covid-19.
  • Tayo Okunade – Attorney/ Owner, Okunade LLP. Okunade described various aspects of the CARES Act including a deep dive into overview of the PPP loan program law, recent changes to the law, and its impact on forgiveness, among other things.

Sustainable Growth

  • Lee Toko – Vice President, Retail Division Sales Manager TBK Bank. Toko provided an overview of the importance of creating the right banking partnership; the difference between national, regional and community banks; how the success of your business is impacted by the choice of a bank.
  • Marisela Parraguez – She returned to provide information on educational programs and workshops provided by her office in partnership with University of Denver to provide training on how to build a solid plan to start and grow your business at different stages. The next such workshop will be held on July 14. You can click here for more information and a link to register.

Q&A from Participants

The last part of the program was a question and answer session moderated by Jamal Bowen, who took participants’ questions via chat and directed them to each speaker based on expertise required to address the question.

Two raffles were also held as part of the event with gifts of cash and in kind donated by presenters and awarded to the lucky winner. The event concluded with final words of thanks to participants and panelists from Papa Dia and myself.

Solomon Muwanga
Solomon is Vice President, Commercial Banker for MidWestOne Bank and has over 20 years of banking experience in Colorado with an emphasis on Healthcare, Real estate and Contractor industry segments. His primary responsibility is working alongside customers to ensure the growth and overall success of their business’ financial health. He takes great pride in proactively partnering with customers to gain a full understand their business and finds that this type of approach allows him to provide advice and expertise to lead them to success. Solomon has been married for 20 years and has two children.

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