US Mayor Article

Partner AmericaTM : Buffalo Event

By Katie Logisz
July 31, 2000

On Thursday, July 13, Buffalo Mayor Anthony M. Masiello hosted a Partner America™ small business roundtable luncheon. The event was attended by approximately 25 small business community leaders, as well as representatives from the U. S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The event was held at Buffalo's Gallery 101, a local restaurant and small business success story.

Mayor Masiello hosted the roundtable to identify the specific issues the Buffalo small business community faces, that should be addressed in a small business conference to be hosted by the Mayor September 18. By listening to the feedback from business leaders, Mayor Masiello and his staff hope to tailor an event that meets the needs of the Buffalo small business community.

Mayor Masiello opened the luncheon, followed by a round of introductions by Archie L. Amos, Jr., Executive Director of the Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation. Alan H. DeLisle, President of the Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation, identified the objective of the meeting and laid the groundwork for the discussion. George A. Cloutier, Chairman of Partner America™ and Chairman and CEO of American Management Services, then presented the aims and goals of Partner America™, and explained the public-private partnership forged between The United States Conference of Mayors and American Management Services.

When the discussion opened up, several issues surfaced. Some of the most pressing points were difficulties in dealing with a fragmented service-delivery system, raising capital for small businesses, and obtaining government contracts. Cloutier noted, "Not a single small business person in the room had ever been awarded a contract with the federal government. Not one."

Another obstacle that business leaders noted was the absence of a centralized assistance and direction for finding various government programs and funds. One local business leader pointed out, "We have all the programs. We just have to do a better job of putting businesses in touch with the right people - and doing it expeditiously."

"This is precisely how Partner America™ can help," said Cloutier. Partner America helps identify the resources available to small business and puts them In contact with the appropriate help and resources they need. The program works with Mayors to ensure businesses have access to all existing resources. Mayor Masiello hopes that in partnering with The U.S. Conference of Mayors, delivery infrastructure will improve. "We don't have to reinvent the wheel. We just have to make sure that the wheel is moving in your direction," the Mayor told the attendees of the luncheon.

The small businesses that attended the luncheon left with feelings of confidence. A local insurance business owner stated, "They're listening to us … I think a coalition of this nature can make things happen." Another businessman expressed his optimism, "I think we can do a lot of things to accelerate our progress."

All signs are pointing toward a successful and productive small business event in September. Mayor Masiello is committed to helping the small businesses in and around Buffalo. "The mayor is one of the most pro-small business mayors I've come across," Cloutier said.

The next Partner America™ small business events will take place in September. Although we are still waiting for confirmation on some dates, the following events are scheduled:

September 7 - Mayor Dannel P. Malloy hosts small business roundtable (Stamford, CT);

September 18 - Mayor Anthony M. Masiello hosts small business conference (Buffalo, NY);

September 28 - Mayor Alex G. Fekete hosts small business roundtable (Pembroke Pines, FL.)

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