Urban League, Chamber form partnership for growth - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Urban League, Chamber form partnership for growth

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Chattanooga City Council members approved $75,000 in funding for the The Urban League of Chattanooga and The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.

The goal is to bring minority-owned businesses back to Chattanooga, particularly in the downtown area.

The funds were earmarked for the Multicultural Chamber of Commerce.

These are also the same funds Mayor Ron Littlefield tried to snag for a city gang study.

This business marriage almost didn't happen.

Councilman Andrae McGary says, "When they made presentations, in the council's mind it left us little more wanting, so we didn't feel comfortable giving them the money."

The growth plans include, promoting entrepreneurship opportunities, funding preparation and coaching and connecting with business experts.

Urban League Director Warren Logan says, "Chattanooga is one of the few communities across the nation that is growing the way it is growing."

The latest labor numbers show more than 263,000 Chattanoogans went to work in November 2011.

That is nearly 4000 more jobs than November 2010.

Logan says one of the biggest hurdles facing minority businesses is access to credit. Many banks have placed tighter requirements on loans or have dried up lending sources.

Logan says it's not just the new businesses having that problem.

"Even for the those seasoned companies this has been a barrier," Logan says. "We will try to address that."

Now that the ground work has been laid, the council wants to see results.

"This is now a time for these groups to show what they intend to do with those dollars," McGary says.

The council will continue to monitor the business plans.

The Chamber of Commerce released a statement stating they are looking forward to the partnership.

The Multicultural Chamber of Commerce is now being investigated by the FBI for misusing a federal grant.

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