Tené Dolphin’s daily focus is making Birmingham a small business-centered city.
Dolphin, the deputy director for business diversity and opportunity at the City of Birmingham, spoke last week at the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA)’s Birmingham Regional Enterprise Council (BREC), comprised of mostly small business owners, about the ongoing work the City is doing to back small businesses.
This work includes the recent development of Mayor Randall Woodfin’s Small Business Council, 22 small business owners and resources advising Woodfin and his administration on small business matters throughout the city; creating a scorecard to measure opportunities for women, minorities and disadvantaged business enterprises; and a database of small businesses throughout Birmingham, all in an effort to make Birmingham a hub for small businesses by 2021, Dolphin said.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of Birmingham’s economy,” she said.
Dolphin, who arrived recently in Birmingham after 28 years in Washington, D.C., was no stranger to the city – her mother’s side of the family is from Birmingham, and she’s visited the city every year of her life since she was a little girl. She said Woodfin’s energy and vision was “refreshing” and compelled her to make the move last year.
“Everyone is focused on moving Birmingham forward,” she said. “Everyone has an opportunity to make an impact on the city, and that’s great.”
Dolphin and her team are working to redesign the small business landscape in Birmingham so more women and people of color have access, she said.
“Every day my colleagues and I wake up and ask ‘How can we make Birmingham more inclusive?’” she said. “We don’t have all the answers, but we are asking the right questions.”
BREC will next meet on September 25 and will feature tech company Mixtroz, which won Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest in Birmingham last year and recently hit $1 million in funding.