Guest Commentator: Krutee Shah, AIA, LEED AP, President, Paradigm Architecture, LLC

Why should the business community participate in the CEO Access Network to support Minority Business?

I’m grateful for this opportunity to speak about the benefits of the Chamber’s CEO Access Network, one of the Chamber’s many programs that encourage diversity by driving economic opportunity. It is a wonderful initiative that connects the larger business community with minority entrepreneurs. The one-year program hosts four quarterly meetings for all participants. The rest is left up to the partnerships to customize and maximize their time together so that each pair can grow and benefit from the relationship.

Through the CEO Access Network, my firm, Paradigm Architecture, LLC, was paired with John Grady, President, Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), who has been an invaluable resource for advancing me personally and professionally.

But why should the business community participate in and support the Chamber’s CEO Access Network?

Fostering Friendships

We all do business in and around an urban city that is culturally diverse. The more that large businesses reach out to and connect with minority businesses representing other cultures, the more successful they will be in connecting to a larger community. CEO Access helps each partner firm understand the other’s unique culture and builds a rapport that reaches across cultural boundaries to create “friendships” that bridge any cultural divide that could otherwise be a stumbling block to success.

Access to Networks

These partnerships offer access to each other’s network and connections that carry a lot more weight than handing out business cards at a networking event.

Empowering Each Other

These leaders have the ability to empower the minority entrepreneurs by broadening their skill sets and helping them bring their full potential to the table. This creates an incredible value to the broader business community and the economic development of the region. When corporations and minority businesses work collaboratively on projects, and the entire demographic of the team is driven and passionate, we will all be successful and create an economic multiplier.

Retaining Talent

The partnerships built through CEO Access help to attract a better talent pool that is a benefit to economic development. If minority firms thrive because of the wider base of network and project types resulting from CEO Access partnerships, they are able to attract and retain some of the creative young talent coming out of the region’s universities, keeping this talent in the area. With proper training, many of these young architects who we attract also have the potential to become future entrepreneurs, keeping the Philadelphia economy thriving.

CEO Access Network is a great initiative toward increased economic growth, taking advantage of the best opportunities that diverse cultures have to offer. I hope this article inspires you to join the CEO Access Network and support diversity through the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

It is our collective responsibility to support diverse communities and empower each other.

Krutee Shah participated in this year’s CEO Access Network, a Diversity & Inclusion Program of the Chamber. We are now seeking applications for the 2018/2019 CEO Access Network cohort.