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May 24, 2000

African-American Business Owners Join Governor Ryan in South Africa via Videoconference

CHICAGO — The Bronzeville Community Development Partnership today hosted several Chicago-area businesses in a video conference call to the Illinois delegation in South Africa.

The conference call allowed businesses that were unable to travel to South Africa to express their interest in becoming a part of the emerging marketplace in the Sub-Saharan region.

Governor George H. Ryan and First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan led a 100-member delegation on an eight-day trade mission to the Republic of South Africa to officially open the Illinois Trade Office in South Africa. The trip also is designed to help Illinois businesses develop new trading relationships and business agreements in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent.

The panel representing the Governor at the teleconference included: Senate Democratic Leader Emil Jones; Edward Hamb, Assistant to the Governor for African American Affairs; Jerry Blakemore, Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, James Reynolds, Loop Capital Markets and Walter Singleton, a clothier and childcare center owner.

The delegation in South Africa relayed their experiences in traveling the region and the need for goods that can be supplied by Illinois’ businesses.

"This country has a significant amount of needs," said James Reynolds. "The upside for exporting goods from Illinois is tremendous."

The large group gathered in the John R. Thompson Center conference room relayed information about their companies and goods to the Illinois delegation for potential matchmaking with businesses that would benefit from their commodities.

The Bronzeville Community Development Partnership plans to maintain trade leads and continue the on-line dialogue via its website BronzevilleOnline.com, a community based portal that showcases Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood as an international heritage tourism destination. A B2Bxchange link has been designated on the site to promote the global exchange of goods, products and services with minority vendors.



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