More than 100 business owners from around the state turned out last Friday for the South Carolina Airports DBE Fly-In hosted by Charleston International Airport (CHS).
The event, the second in a series of four, was an opportunity for small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses to connect with key leaders at the state’s major airports and to learn how to compete for business opportunities when they are advertised.
“I am thrilled with this turnout,” said Sharon McGhee, CHS director of community relations and the event organizer. “There is clearly a lot of interest in opportunities to do business with Charleston International and the other airports.”
The Charleston County Aviation Authority, owner and operator of CHS, wants to build relationships within the small business community and promote resources, such as Friday’s information and training session. It’s just one of the things the Aviation Authority is doing to promote diversity in its workforce and in the airport. In 2015, the Aviation Authority launched an internship program with South Carolina State University to promote airport- and aviation-related careers. The program has expanded to all college students this year.
“It is important that the people and businesses working at the airport reflect our customers and the community that we serve,” said Paul G. Campbell, Jr., the CCAA’s executive director and CEO. “By providing opportunities to compete for airport business we provide an important economic function in the community.”
The South Carolina Airports DBE Fly-In is the first time all that state’s airports have come together to create opportunities for small-, minority- and women-owned businesses to learn how to take advantage of competitive business opportunities as they come available.
Friday’s participants included an array of businesses, including retail, construction, professional services and the technology fields. Participants heard from Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport and Myrtle Beach International Airport. In addition, representatives from the S.C. Department of Transportation, the Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance, airport concessionaires and Charleston County Aviation Authority provided information on procurement and disadvantaged business enterprise programs and requirements.
The next DBE Fly-In is April 1 at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.