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Q: I have a total of three fields that I focus my small, home-based business on: vending, auto detailing and janitorial. Is there a benefit to joining a black chamber of commerce and what is the purpose of it?
— Juane Lee, Denver
A: Membership in any type of chamber of commerce will benefit your business in a variety of ways. Chambers of commerce offer networking opportunities, where you can meet other business owners at meetings, speaker luncheons, seminars, and conferences. Some offer referral networks to bring new customers to your business. Chambers of commerce offer a wealth of resources to help you succeed through training programs, literature, membership periodicals, Websites with the latest news and information, technical assistance, and trade missions, for example. The National Black Chamber of Commerce Inc. (www.nationalbcc.org) was started in 1993, and is based in Washington, D.C. The largest black trade association in the world, it has local affiliate chapters across the country. With a focus on the development and economic improvement of black communities, the National Black Chamber of Commerce sponsors international trade missions, offers corporate and federal procurement opportunities, an annual business convention, publications, including a resource guide, and matchmaking sessions, for example. For more information, contact the National Black Chamber of Commerce at 202-466-6888 or www.nationalbcc.org, or the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce at 303-620-8075 or www.denverchamber.org.