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Tuesday, November 7, 2006 – Community Entrepreneur Opportunity (CEO) Graduation  
Twelve entrepreneurs will be honored at a ceremony and reception to celebrate completion of the intensive Community Entrepreneur Opportunity (CEO) program. The CEO business-training program “Preparing for Success”, is a 12-week course, which is an introduction to business basics using the business plan as the framework for entrepreneurs to determine the viability of their business becoming a success. Karen Magee, Karen Magee & Associates, Inc., business trainer and coach, instructs the CEO course. Anyone interested in supporting the new entrepreneurs or learning more about the program is welcome to attend. Reservations are preferred, but not required. The program will begin at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the Newtown Selby Goodwill Center, 1781 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way. For information about the CEO program or the reception contact the Newtown Redevelopment Office, City of Sarasota at (941) 373.7780.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 – 6:00 – 8:00pm
SCOPE”s Coalition for Inclusion & Diversity Holds Inaugural Event
The Coalition for Inclusion & Diversity invites you to join them in their kick-off of a continuing series of community forums. The purpose of the forums is to focus community attention on the issue of diversity and inclusion, to connect people who care and to encourage other folks who care. Come and bring a friend, Finger food and beverages will be included. The event is free and open to anyone wishing to participate. The forum will be held at the Robert L. Taylor Newtown Community Center, 1845 34th Street, Sarasota 34235. Call SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence) to RSVP and more information (941) 365.2751 by Nov. 10

MelEcho Productions Receives Contract from Ringling School of Art and Design to Produce 2006 Annual Video
MelEcho Productions, Inc., A Full - Service Television and Video Production Company, Black female owned and operated by founders, Melanie "Mel" Thomas and Sha'von "Echo" Reed, has been awarded the contract to produce the 2006 Annual Ringling School of Art and Design Video. The video will showcase the school that has been recognized as being among the top 10 best and most innovative visual arts colleges in the United States as well as a leader in the use of technology in the arts. Visit their site at

Congratulations Times Two – MelEcho Productions Selected Second Consecutive Year to Produce YMCA Videos
MelEcho Productions, Inc. has been chosen for the second consecutive year to produce the YMCA Annual Video and develop Virtual Tour Videos. The contract includes production work for each of the YMCA’s five Sarasota branches. The Annual YMCA Video will capture the organization and its programming as a whole. The Virtual Tour Video will allow members and potential members to take virtual tours inside a facility on-line and view amenities, programs and services offered by the “Y”.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:00 – 8:00pm
Black Business Professional Network 3rd Thursday Networking Event
The Black Business Professional Network 3rd Thursday networking event will be held at the Herald-Tribune building lobby and meeting room first floor. This event will feature an “Empowered Moment” presentation on Successful Networking Strategies (her own story) by Sarasota’s own Carolyn Robinson, Vice President, Senior Branch Manager, SunTrust Bank. Carolyn is a native of Sarasota and an accomplished business women, active community citizen and Vice President, Senior Manager of the bank’s largest branch office in the area. Carolyn will be followed by a facilitated panel discussion on the subject of networking. The Herald-Tribune Building is located at 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. The 3rd Thursday networking event is Thursday, November 16 from 6:00 – 8:00pm. Cost: $10.00 - Food and Drink provided. For more information and to RSVP call (941) 366.8403 by Nov.13.

Pines of Sarasota Project Approved for contributions through Enterprise Zone Program

Pines of Sarasota received notice of approval from the Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development for its application for Community Contribution Tax Credit Project (CCTCP) sponsorship.  Pines of Sarasota is located in the Sarasota Enterprise Zone at 1501 N. Orange Ave. 

The Pines of Sarasota is a charitable, non-profit community dedicated to providing adults with limited resources excellent care.  Since 1948, Pines of Sarasota programs have provided residents with health, social, and support services and programs to enhance quality of life in a residential setting.  The Pines also employs more than 350 people, with approximately 25 percent from the enterprise zone.

The CCTCP incentive allows businesses that make contributions to the Pines project eligible to apply for tax credit equal to 50 percent of the value of its contribution against Florida Corporate Income Tax or Sales and Use Tax account.  This approval also allows insurers that make contributions to the project, eligible to apply for a tax credit equal to 50 percent of the value of the contribution against its Florida Insurance Premium Tax.

The first part of the industrious Pines project is a beautiful new skilled nursing facility with a modern rehabilitation/therapy center, which began construction last year.  Residents in the existing older facility will be moved to the new location after completion possibly by December. 

Anyone interested in a contribution to the Pines Project may contact Richard Enslein, Campaign Director, at 941.780.3895.

As a project in the Sarasota Enterprise Zone, Pines of Sarasota also benefits from a waiver of county impact fees for roads, emergency services and fire and rescue, saving Pines approximately $75,000. 

For more information about the Sarasota Enterprise Zone contact Dru Jones, Economic Development Coordinator, Newtown Redevelopment Office at 373.7780 or go to

The Human Society of Sarasota County Seeks Board of Directors Candidates
If you have always wanted to help animals in need while having fun at the same time, then HSSC is the place for you! The Humane Society of Sarasota Count is looking for diverse individuals interested in serving on their Board of Directors. If you are a professional or business owner who has an interest in animals and would also like to share your professional expertise in supporting this worthy cause, please contact the Humane Society of Sarasota County and express your interest. For more information visit the Humane Society of Sarasota County website at or contact Deborah Millman, Executive Director at Tell them you were referred by the BBPN.

Black Business Professional Network Interview on Black Almanac
DeWanda Smith-Soeder, Founder and President of the Black Business and Professional Network, was featured on the Sunday, October 29 showing of the Black Almanac show. Ms. Smith-Soeder was interviewed by the distinguished Ed James who adeptly portrayed the organization’s finer points as well as emphasized its tremendous need and appropriateness to the area. The show included video of the successful “Premiere Event” of the Black Business Professional Network. As a result of the show we received several e-mails seeking information about the network picked up additional network members. The Black Business Professional Network is garnering support throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties. To date we have approximately 75 joined members with additional members joining daily. Be sure to check us out at and sign-up for the e-newsletter and/or become a member today. Membership is free. Tell a friend.

Empowered Minds Newsletter – Announcement
Empowered Minds is an e-newsletter created to be a major source of information for Black business and the community. We need your news to make it work.  The newsletter is updated weekly and brought to you via e-mail. Having an event, need to let us know about a personal or company accomplishment, any business or community information that is important for us to acknowledge please send to If your news is appropriate and vital to you and the Black business community we will print it in the newsletter. Send us your news.

We also welcome member comments and feedback on events, the newsletter and website. BBPN is always working to make your experience with us a valuable one.  If you are submitting your comments or feedback to be published please indicate by placing the words “with permission” in the subject line of your e-mail.

Our website is continually being developed with plans for its completion by the next 3rd Thursday networking event. So keep clicking in on us as we build. Soon we will feature areas for members to be more interactive with one another including, events (where members can announce events and report their results), Blogging (where members can speak out on subjects near and dear to their business and professional interests, exchange ideas, information and expertise), Press Room (where you can keep abreast of the latest news and information pertaining to BBPN and the Black business community), newsletter (where we will archive the newsletter for quick reference of past events and news), membership (membership offerings designed to leverage your professional and business presence.) We are also offering sponsorships for events and advertising on the website. More information to come at the 3rd Thursday networking event, Nov. 16, 2006 at The Herald-Tribune Building 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236, 6-8pm.

3rd THURSDAY Networking Event
Thursday, November 16, 2006
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm    (Cost: $10.00)
The Herald Tribune Building, 1741 Main Street, Sarasota
(Call office for reservations - 941-366-8403 by Nov. 13)



We encourage you to send us news items that may be of interest to our network. If deemed timely and newsworthy, we may elect to publish them in our e-newsletter “Empowered Minds.”



empowered quote:...networking is a basic requirement and a critical element for successful economic development.  We cannot be complacent if we want to increase our visibility and status in business and in culture.  Acting alone is a precarious existence for professionals -- as a group we form "creative capital". BBPN represents recognition that being invisible has made it much harder for us to flourish.  There are daunting challenges facing us all...we can only benefit from an organization that helps us cope with elements that may threaten our success.  BBPN is our competitive its best it will help navigate the local business market, aid in obtaining technical advice and attract its worst;  we shall shake hands while giving out business cards every 3rd Thursday of the month. For me it is a win-win situation. — Gale Fulton Ross, Artist


15 Paradise Plaza, Box 335    Sarasota, Florida 34239

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