Harlem Week’s Economic Development Day
Natasha Ashby | 7/30/2015, 10:28 a.m.
The anticipated 2015 Harlem Week summer festival has begun. Don’t be fooled by the name because Harlem Week is actually a monthlong celebration, and this year’s theme is “Celebrating the Journey, Embracing the Future.”
Columbia University will be the host of the New York City Economic Development Day Aug. 11 in Alfred Lerner Hall. More than 4,000 business professions, government and corporate representatives, college students, educators, and health and financial service providers are expected to attend. The indoor expo’s theme is “Technology, STEM & Finance.” Therefore, the focus is on finance, health, business, travel, tourism, technology, economic development, investment and insurance. Visitors can expect multiple business and health conferences, including minority- and women-owned business enterprises and energy efficiency initiatives.
Lloyd Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce said conferences will explore opportunities for MWBE businesses in the private and government sectors. They will also discuss how MWBEs can position themselves to submit proposals and be prepared to compete for those contracts.
The goal of the event is simple. It’s “for people to make money,” Williams said. The original focus of this event was on Harlem’s economic development, as there was very little development taking place 26 years ago.
“It was not identified as an area that major businesses or financial institutions should come to,” said Lloyd. Because of that, they spent time making sure these businesses and institutions had a sense of the numbers and demographics in Harlem, as well as the disposable income of Harlemites, Williams added.
“As we evolved and people started recognizing the value of doing business and housing in Harlem, we started expanding the purpose of the conference to connect economic development in Harlem to other parts of the city,” he said.
The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, in association with Columbia University, sponsors Harlem Week’s Economic Development Day. Columbia University is providing the venue for economic discussion sessions, the indoor business and professional services expo and an award luncheon for hundreds of participants.
Silicon Harlem will present a tech meetup and business conference. Registration is required for Economic Development Day.
Last year, the Economic Development Day Awards Luncheon was renamed in honor and memory of Basil Paterson, one of Harlem Week’s founders. He was a lawyer, labor negotiator and federal mediator. He also served as a state senator, deputy mayor and New York’s secretary of state.