Minority business owners participated in networking opportunities, over lunch, from the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance.
Shellie Michael is MMBA's CEO. She says minority and women-owned businesses have missed a lot of international trade opportunities.
"One of the reasons we partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service is so we can bridge the gap," says Michael.
Antwaun Griffin is an official of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the luncheon's keynote speaker. He says bridging the gap of international business relations will take cooperation from state and local leaders.
"At the state level with the Governor, as well as here in Jackson with the mayor's office, everyone seems to be working together. That's not always the case. We at the federal level, alone, can't do it. It's important to have active partners that also understand the value and importance of helping our small companies compete in a global marketplace," Griffin says.
Eldridge Henderson owns a business in Jackson. He says the state is issuing more contracts to minority businesses.
"The numbers are increasing, as far as minorities are concerned, in state contracts and in international environments," says Henderson.
Henderson says Governor Phil Bryant deserves credit for his efforts.
"He is improving the stats from the past, and he said earlier today that he is going to do better in the future," Henderson says.
Shellie Michael of the MMBA says between her agency, businesses, and all levels of government officials, they will strengthen Mississippi's global economic position.