Newly Formed Ethnic Council Seeks to Strengthen Diversity in Michigan Business

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Members of several Michigan ethnic chambers of commerce gathered Tuesday afternoon at Dearborn’s to formalize the creation of the Council of Ethnic Chambers of Commerce.

“The council has been established to promote collaboration, foster strong economic leverage and expand regional business growth,” said Chairman of the council and the American Arab Chamber of Commerce Ahmad Chebbani. “We are told this is the first such ethnic council in the nation, and we’re happy to set such a great example.”

The council is comprised of members of the African Business Chamber of Commerce, American Arab Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce, African Carribean Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Chinese Business Association, Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce of Michigan.

Chebbani explained that the council hopes to strengthen the ability and power of each of its member groups, as well as to promote the idea that diversity is key to revitalizing Michigan business.

“Our mission is very simple,” he said. “Strength in unity, power in diversity, and success in collaboration. We’re all here because we want to work together.”

Michigan Economic Development Corporation Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Douglas Smith, who attended the unveiling of the council on behalf of Gov. Rick Snyder and the MEDC, said that the partnership was a perfect example of Snyder’s mission to leave behind competition and work toward collaboration.

“We’ve been world-class in the past at competition–between counties, between cities, regions, between families,” Smith said. “We need to be far more collaborative … becase we have the kind of environment that is so rich with diversity. That diversity should not be something that pulls us apart, but should always be a strength that we have.”

Though specific goals or projects have not yet been set forth by the council, Chebbani said their focus for the time being is to begin discussing what the important issues are, as well as to work toward gaining more member organizations over the next few months.

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