TAMPA, Fla. -- The City of Tampa is launching a new program to help minority business owners. 

  • New Tampa program to help minority business owners
  • Program to give owners tools they need to grow
  • Four businesses selected for program so far

City leaders say minority business owners make up half of the businesses in Tampa, but bring in less than five percent of the county's revenue. 

The Tampa Chamber's Minority Business Accelerator Program is giving business owners the tools they need to grow and bring more revenue to the region, and the effort is already stimulating growth in the local economy. 

The program started with its inaugural cohort group in January. 

"It's really about starting with the minority business community and who is oftentimes underserved or underrepresented and giving them the resources to really be key players and drive our economy forward," said LaKendria Robinson, Director of Minority Business Accelerator and Economic Inclusion. 

Matcon Construction Services was one of the four businesses selected for the program. 

"My initial reaction was oh my goodness, it's a two year program. It seems kind of daunting, but we said let's go for it," Derek Mateos, owner of Matcon Construction Services, said. 

Mateos started the family business 16 years ago but said something has been missing. 

"We just didn't have much of a footprint here in Tampa. A lot of our clients were shopping center owners down in South Florida and Orlando," he said. 

In the first few months, the business owners created two new positions and hired 12 additional employees. 

"The four of us that's in this cohort, I mean we've interacted, we're doing business together, and there's that level of camaraderie which is pretty incredible," he said. 

Mateos said he's even getting the chance to work on some of the redevelopment projects in Tampa thanks to the MBA.

"It's well worth it. There's an immense amount of opportunity," Mateos explained. 

The chamber is getting ready to form its second cohort with an additional four to five minority business owners. The deadline to apply is August 2. 

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