Entrepreneur Honored for Promoting Small Businesses
Odell B. Ruffin | 1/7/2009, 10:41 p.m.
Odessa Hopkins is president and CEO of Another Approach Enterprises (AAE), and recent winner of the Entrepreneurial Business of the Year award, by the Prince George€s Chamber of Commerce. AAE creates programs to leverage the playing field in the marketing and advertising arena for small minority business.
€When I attended trade shows I found that there were small businesses having trouble promoting themselves, so I was determined to help them get their businesses noticed by people,€ Hopkins said.
After years of struggling with advertising, Hopkins created a concept to help others while growing her own business. MinorityBuzz.com, which is the Golden-Child of AAE is an online consumer and business directory. Consumers search the directory to find product and local business.
"Odessa is a woman on the move. She has a big vision and a great determination to make the vision a reality. If you are around her for a few minutes you cannot help but be impacted and inspired,€ said Willie Jolley, president/CEO Willie Jolley Worldwide.
Also a government information technology contractor, Hopkins works to elevate business through the Internet with a focus on heavy networking during trade show promotions. More than 300 business currently advertise through MinorityBuzz.com, including finance, real estate, medical, legal, insurance, technology and hospitality to name a few.
€Things got started for me because I knew the power of the Internet. It is very crucial that every business have a Web site. However if you are a very small business, Google may not pick it up. So, I decided to create a company that could house members on every level,€ Hopkins said.
With offices in the District and Prince George€s County, she seeks to expand throughout the United States. Hopkins also networks with politicians and decision makers to keep them abreast of challenges facing small and micro business owners.
€Odessa does great with connecting with people. She holds events that help connect people with what is going on in the community, and it fits the needs of Black business,€ said LaTalya Palmer-Lewis, Safe Space Coaching.
MinorityBuzz.com now houses companies in the metropolitan Washington area €" many of whom receive free Internet advertising while their showcase members receive print and Internet advertising, and trade show marketing, year round, for under $1,500 a year.
€The company has definitely given me more exposure than I would have ever had. I am able to showcase my business at trade shows, and I can really get my promotional items everywhere that I am not physically able to be,€ said Hyacinth Tucker - Tucker Insurance Agency/Allstate Agent.
€When I launched MinorityBuzz.com, I had two members maybe. It took time to build, and I am always looking for new ways and avenues,€ Hopkins said.