Small businesses get slice of big DNC pie
Posted September 4, 2012
Updated September 5, 2012
Charlotte, N.C. — Along with the large corporations getting in on the business of the Democratic National Convention, small and minority-owned businesses are reaping the benefits of the four-day event in Charlotte.
Kelly Koeppel's vision of Charlotte hosting the convention can be seen throughout the city – and nationwide on television. Convention organizers hired her firm, K2Forma to design the event's official logo.
"We laid out all the signage for the whole event – every hat (and) T-shirt – and that's how we proposed that they hire us," Koeppel said Tuesday, the first official session of the convention.
Across town, Rhonda Caldwell's crews are setting up for a social gathering for a North Carolina congressman. It's one of seven parties that her event-planning company, The Main Event, will host during the convention.
"We don't look at doing cookie-cutter events," Caldwell said. "Most often, when you come to one of The Main Event's (events), we have done something different or tried to create a different experience."
Both small businesses represent the Democratic Party's concerted effort to make sure local minority- and women-owned firms are part of the process.
The two female entrepreneurs said they are well aware that the quality of their work could make it possible for other small and minority-owned businesses to land big contracts in the future.
"When a group like this and an event this big chooses to work with a business so small, we recognize that that's a huge risk they are taking, and we take that responsibility seriously, as well," Koeppel said.
"It is a tough industry for us to compete in, and I think it kind of opens the way or opens for door for others to be a part," Caldwell said.