By Allen R. Gray
NDG Contributing Writer
In April of 1846 a line was drawn that demarked the boundary between Fannin and the county named for one of its first settlers and a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, Collin McKinney. At that time the county only had 150 residents, even though the land was literally being given away for free.
The county has grown a little since then…
The 2020 U.S. census identified Collin County as one of the fastest growing and sixth-most populous county in State of Texas. It is also the 43rd-largest county by population in the United States. Portfolio.com/bizjournals ranks Frisco, Plano, Allen and McKinney in the top 100 most affluent American cities with a population of at least 75,000 people.
Even with the tremendous growth Collin County has realized over the years, it took 150 years to establish a chamber of commerce that would allow Black businesses to capitalize on that growth. This may have been due to the small Black population of Collin County, as well as an almost nonexistent number of Black-owned businesses. The formation of the Collin County Black Chamber of Commerce (CCBCC) in 2006 eventually ended that drought.
By comparison, the Texas State Negro Chamber of Commerce—predecessor to the Texas Association of African American Chamber of Commerce, one of the oldest Black business leagues in America—was established way back in 1936. Even then, Black businessmen realized how essential an organized front was to Black businesses being able to capitalize on the state’s growing economy.
Currently, African Americans comprise over 10 percent of Collin County’s population, and Black-owned businesses comprise over 4.5 percent of the county’s businesses.
The CCBCC, one of 16 chambers of commerce in Collin County, was founded by African Americans, Keevin Dailey, and Jamal Murray. Like the founders of Texas’ initial Black chamber of commerce, Dailey and Murray discovered the critical need for Black businesses to join forces and resources in their economic enterprises. Their aim was to provide a Black business forum based solely on R.A.C.E: Resources; Advocacy; Connection; and Education.
The CCBCC recently announced the election of a new Executive Committee for the 2021-2022 calendar year. New executive members include: Martin Fayomi, Vice President; Lisa Ford, Secretary; Verenia Hatch, Treasurer; Elders Vanessa and Virgil Watson, Chaplains; Summer Alexander, Community Public Relations; and Shandra Colon, Economic Development.
Steering the chamber on its new course is CCBCC President Dr. Lauren Freeman, an entrepreneur, civic leader and philanthropist. Dr. Freeman is Founder, CEO and Managing Partner at Lauren Fabulous Firm, LLC.
The 2022 Collin County Black Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Expo will be their first big venture in a year projected to be a new level of ascension for the CCBCC. The Expo will be held at the Marriott Courtyard in Allen, Texas on Saturday March 19th.