Jasmine Jones
Jasmine Jones
“You got to have heart and you have to be able to truly engage and empower people through person-to-person contact to be successful,” explains Jasmine Jones, manager of community relations and outreach for the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD). “I’m truly interested in seeing new businesses develop and existing businesses expand.”

This is the message she takes to the greater Broward County community. Jones, who was recently interviewed on the New Haitian Generation program broadcast on Becon Television operated by the School Board of Broward County, focused on her efforts to grow the County’s signature business development program, “How to Do Business with Broward County.” Developed and presented in partnership with the Broward County Purchasing Division, the program features free monthly workshops for local business owners and entrepreneurs who want to learn more about business opportunities.

Jones has seen the program grow from only a few in attendance to now a standing room only crowd. She is joined in these efforts by her team in Community Relations and Outreach comprised of Lilian Guazzelli, economic development specialist; and Vonetta Williams, community relations coordinator. Duties include conducting outreach to identify, recruit, screen, motivate and develop small and emerging business owners.

While September is Minority Enterprise Development Month, business development is something the OESBD does throughout the year. This month, the Office, in conjunction with Broward College is hosting the free 2013 Export Readiness Seminar, which is part of the County's ongoing efforts to reinforce the local economy through a network of sustainable small- and medium-sized businesses.

The Office, primarily responsible for enhancing the economy of Broward County, recruits new industry, supports existing industries and creates new employment opportunities for residents. The Office addresses these responsibilities in several ways:

Business Assistance -- supports Broward County businesses and their success by providing a comprehensive roster of client-focused services. Technical assistance is available to local businesses in a range of topics from information on current public procurement opportunities to financing.

Economic Development -- implements and provides a full range of strategies designed to enhance Broward County's economy that result in job creation, international trade and business expansion.

Compliance -- ensures that federal and local regulations, policies and procedures are followed by Broward County agencies and contractors doing business with the County.

Certification – provides certification services to local small businesses in order to bid on Broward County procurement contracts with Small Business Enterprise, County Business Enterprise, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise or Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program requirements.

“We work collaboratively with many community partners and vendors to encourage and promote job growth, diversify the County’s industrial mix and expand the local tax base,” said Sandy-Michael McDonald, director of the OESBD. “The outreach is vital to our success because building and maintaining the relationships is key to promoting long-term stability of emerging businesses.” To learn more about programs and services of the Broward County Office of Economic and Small Business Development, call 954-357-6400 or visit Broward.org/EconDev.