The Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest organization for the interests of Latino business owners, awarded Donna M. Ennis, C.P.F., with its President’s Award – Partner in the Promise at its 34th Annual Awards Gala, for her work in helping to expand opportunity for minority businesses and entrepreneurs.
The annual gala highlights those leaders in Georgia who have made significant contributions in promoting and supporting Hispanic businesses. It also recognizes those who help foster stronger ties between non-Hispanic entities and the Hispanic market. Ennis and other awardees were fêted at a dinner banquet August 28 in Downtown Atlanta.
Ennis is director of diversity engagement and program development at the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development and growth arm. She leads efforts to find funding and program opportunities, particularly those with a focus on underrepresented and underserved communities and organizations. She also is director of the Georgia Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, one of the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s programs. As director, Ennis has assisted clients secure in excess of $3.5 billion in contracts, financing, and sales, and create or save more than 6,000.
For Ennis, who has been at Georgia Tech since 1992, the award is a reflection of Georgia Tech’s commitment to helping foster positive economic development across all communities in Georgia and the value of collaboration. “The award demonstrates the tenacity that we’ve had at Georgia Tech in terms of developing partnerships in the community,” Ennis said. “It really shows that we have a commitment to the minority business community, the Hispanic business community and all the communities we serve as part of the Enterprise Innovation Institute in fulfillment of our economic development mission for the state of of Georgia.”
The Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was a major partner for the coronavirus relief funding award that the Georgia MBDA Business Center received, Ennis said, explaining that support helped her team serve more than 1,500 minority-owned businesses via technical assistance services, resources, access to capital, and leverage its network for strategic growth opportunities.
Such collaborations are important, Ennis said, because while minority businesses have made advances, work still remains toward getting greater access.
“Statistics show we still have not reached parity,” she said. “Minority businesses still struggle for capital and opportunity. We still don’t have equitable access. There is still quite a bit of disparity. So these organizations are very necessary to make sure that we work toward equitable access for our businesses and our communities.”