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World of Opportunity For Local Businesses At World Games 2021

THE BIRMINGHAM TIMES — The program is a supplier diversity initiative which aims to connect certified, diverse Birmingham businesses to compete for opportunities with the World Games.



By Erica Wright

Marie Lusain-Daniels, owner of Canvas Event Center and Petal Pushers Florals and Rentals, LLC, was among more than 400 local businesses at the Birmingham CrossPlex Wednesday for the kickoff of the World of Opportunity program for the World Games 2021 Birmingham.

The program is a supplier diversity initiative which aims to connect certified, diverse Birmingham businesses to compete for opportunities with the World Games.

“I got exposure for both of the businesses,” Daniels said. “I’ve never been to a forum like this before so just letting people know that our venue is available for events for the Games itself and that we also provide services such as floral and decorating.

“The main thing is I got great contact information and also being able to connect with other business owners who are here for the same reason and purpose and building those connections and relationships.”

The World of Opportunity program was developed by The World Games 2021 Supplier Diversity Steering Committee, co-chaired by Marcus Lundy of Regions Bank and Glenda S. Thomas of Alabama Power and made up of officials from the city of Birmingham, local business leaders and community leaders.

The program offers local, small, minority-owned and women-owned organizations the chance to participate in city-wide business opportunities relating to the World Games 2021.

“This was the launch of our supplier diversity initiative for the World Games 2021 and it’s our program where we will matchmake needed goods and services with local, small business, minority and women-owned community to help them maximize opportunity around the games planning needs,” said DJ Mackovets, CEO of The World Games 2021. “One of the reasons cities want to host events like this are because of the economic impact, to make the opportunities available locally, not just spending money with folks from outside of the community.”

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said the World Games is a “turning point” for the city.

“As excited as we are about hosting the World Games here in our city in two years, we’re equally excited about the World of Opportunity, a program designed to be an incredible turning point for our entire city,” said Woodfin.

The mayor said the program is patterned after the NFL Super Bowl’s model for diversity and inclusion which puts local entrepreneurs in a position to win business where the game is held.

“My administration has made a commitment to the support and development of women and minority-owned businesses,” Woodfin said. “The World of Opportunity program keeps that promise in the forefront.”

Charles Lawson, owner of L&O Greek Specialties based in Birmingham, said he learned valuable lessons that can help them compete for business for the World Games.

“I wanted to see what kind of opportunities there could be for my company . . . such as embroidery, t-shirts or polos or any kind of clothing apparel for the World Games. I learned there are a lot of opportunities for minorities and if we just fill out the paperwork and apply for the programs those opportunities will arise and we’ll get some calls and get some business hopefully.”

The event also included a panel discussion, “Creating a Legacy with Diverse Suppliers” with Chincie Mouton, Vice President of Community Engagement and Projects, Atlanta Host Committee; Glenda Thomas; and Tene Dolphin, Deputy Director for Business Diversity and Opportunity with the City of Birmingham and was moderated by Darlene Wilson, Managing Principal, Relay Accounting Management.

Dolphin said it is important for business owners to register early in order to compete for these opportunities.

“This is going to be a competitive process and so it is incumbent upon business owners to learn what is going to be required, how can they differentiate themselves from another business or how can they begin to partner with other businesses and join ventures but all of those things you’ve got to start thinking about today,” said Dolphin. “If you start later it may be too late so I’m really hoping that today starts the beginning of the pivot that businesses need to make in order to follow up on these opportunities.”

Mouton stressed the importance of building relationships early on and utilizing the different resources that are available. “I’m sure there are local women business councils and minority councils and all of these different avenues will have workshops and programs that will help you learn to respond to requests for proposals, learn how to communicate with different contractors and use best practices for business development,” said Mouton. “You have to get a head start and make sure you’re attending those types of events.”

Thomas added business owners should know the impact they want to make and know how to “showcase your company and what you do and to highlight what you’re doing for the World Games and for people around the world to look at you.”

The program also provided business direct access to work in a variety of categories including transportation, event production, security, promotional items, merchandise, sports equipment, food service, technology, printing, medical supplies, event equipment, waste removal and construction services.

The World Games also unveiled its supplier database, an online registration system developed by industry-leader CVM Solutions. The database allows local, diverse businesses to register and receive direct access to future opportunities to provide goods and services.

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times


City of Oakland’s Historic Sports Doubleheader: Black Group to Buy Coliseum Complex While Also Urging the A’s to Negotiate to Bring Community Benefits to City Through Howard Terminal

Hours of engaging discourse, bolstered by a throng of community supporters who packed the virtual council meeting with back-to-back appeals, got their wish in a 6-0-2 vote, on Monday, July 20. 



Oakland Coliseum and Arena/Wikimedia Commons

The African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG,, received a resounding vote from Oakland City Council members to pursue terms of ownership of the fabled, multiplex sporting venue, the Coliseum Complex.

Hours of engaging discourse, bolstered by a throng of community supporters who packed the virtual council meeting with back-to-back appeals, got their wish in a 6-0-2 vote, on Monday, July 20.  Oakland City Councilmembers approved the resolution brought forward by Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan to begin negotiations with the AASEG to acquire the City’s 50% interest of the Coliseum Complex.

The Oakland A’s bought Alameda County’s half of the Coliseum for $85 million in 2020.

This critical vote came just three days after the Alameda County Joint Powers Authority unanimously approved a resolution to begin negotiating with the AASEG to bring a WNBA team to Oakland.  With these successive actions, the AASEG can formalize negotiations with City staff toward a Purchase and Sell Agreement for the Coliseum Complex.

“This is very important,” said 96-year-old Gladys Green, chair of the Elmhurst Board in Oakland’s 7th District, where the Coliseum sits. “These Black men and women are coming back into this community at a time when we’ve lost so much. It is critical that you move forward with the AASEG proposal.”

Desmond Gumbs is the athletic director of Oakland’s century-old Lincoln University. “This is a strong group,” he said. “We are really excited about their community engagement. Let’s do this. It’s great for our community.”

Councilmembers complimented the AASEG’s impactful community outreach, citing receipt of scores of support letters, in addition to the group’s top priority to maintain a “community first” development approach.

“The historic footprint of this effort is unprecedented,” said AASEG founder Ray Bobbitt.  “It would be the largest award of public land to an African American group in the City’s 169-year history.”

The AASEG proposal includes commitments to revitalize the local community through affordable housing, job creation, public services, hospitality, life sciences, education, retail, public space, sports and entertainment activities.  Voices from the community expressed their hope for much needed infrastructure and quality of life improvements within the East Oakland community.

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Cal AG Rob Bonta Hits Google with Lawsuit Over “Play Store”

“Google has violated the trust of Android phone customers by limiting consumer choice and raking in outrageous commissions on app developers. Android customers are effectively stuck using the Google Play Store for apps, where they pay a premium,” said Bonta on July 7.



Phone with Google apps courtesy Pathum Danthanarayana via Unsplash

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the California Department of Justice (DOJ) is joining a multistate lawsuit against Google.

In the claim, California joins 35 other states and the District of Columbia in accusing the Mountain View-based company of violating national and state laws (the federal Sherman Antitrust Act and California’s Cartwright Act) with its Google Play Store’s monopolization of the smartphone app market.

“Google has violated the trust of Android phone customers by limiting consumer choice and raking in outrageous commissions on app developers. Android customers are effectively stuck using the Google Play Store for apps, where they pay a premium,” said Bonta on July 7.

Calling Google’s dominance of the Android-app market “anti-competitive,” Bonta pointed out that customers are impacted the most by Google’s actions.

“A more competitive app marketplace could open innovation, leading to more choice, better payment processing, improved customer service, and enhanced data security,” he added.

The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in San Francisco, is the second multi-state lawsuit California has joined against the tech giant. Last year, Cal DOJ joined another U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit claiming Google stifles its competition by signing exclusionary agreements with smartphone manufacturers to dominate their operating systems, blocking out its search engine and other app competitors.

“In the absence of Google’s anticompetitive conduct, there would be two main channels for consumers to obtain apps on an open Android operating system: (i) direct downloading and installation of apps or app stores; and (ii) apps or app stores pre-installed on devices by device manufacturers and/or mobile network operators,” reads the 144-page complaint in which phrases with sensitive information have been redacted.

“But Google has closed off its purportedly ‘open’ Android operating system from competition in app distribution,” it continues. “To accomplish this, Google degraded direct distribution channels, and then cut deals to discourage and disincentivize any remaining potential competition.”

Responding to the states’ legal action, Google’s senior director of government affairs and policy Wilson White wrote in a blog post that the suit isn’t about fairness. Instead, in his view, it’s about a “handful” of developers who want access to the benefits of Google’s app store without paying for it.

“The complaint limits its definition of app marketplace to Android devices only. This completely ignores the competition we face from other platforms such as Apple’s incredibly successful app store, which accounts for the majority of mobile app store revenues, according to third party estimates,” White wrote.

White insists Google allows both developers and consumers to have options.

“Device makers and carriers can preload competing app stores alongside Google Play on their devices,” he said. “In fact, most android devices ship with two or more app stores preloaded. And popular Android devices such as the Amazon Fire tablet come preloaded with a competitive app store and no Google Play Store.”

Technically, Bonta says, consumers do have the option to install app stores they choose or to buy apps directly from developers. But he says Google discourages this “type of sideloading through a convoluted process that forces users to click through often-misleading security warnings and multiple permission screens.”

“This burdensome series of red flags leaves consumers with the impression that alternative app stores are inferior at best and high risk at worst. Over 90 % of all Android app distribution in the United States is done through Google’s Play Store,” said the Cal DOJ in a press release.

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Bay Area

Hope You Can Attend – Community Town Hall on the Effect of Billionaire Fisher’s Real Estate Project on the Port of Oakland

Virtual Town Hall – July 14th at 6 p.m.



Register here

Howard Terminal Townhall Invite

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