PALM COAST, Fla. – Presented with the first of four proclamations in Flagler and Volusia counties recognizing the importance of National Black Business Month, African American Entrepreneurs Association Founder and CEO Leslie Giscombe thanked the Palm Coast City Council on Tuesday evening for their support during their regular business meeting.
As one of Florida’s leading organizations supporting minority business owners, the African American Entrepreneurs Association was founded in Palm Coast in 2016.
Working closely with city and county staff in various regions of the country while creating relationships with economic development experts in target communities such as the Greater Baltimore Committee, the CEO Business Alliance, and CareerSource Volusia-Flagler, the AAEA has also developed connections with colleges and universities including the Volusia County Business Incubator in partnership with the University of Central Florida, Auburn’s Harbert College of Business, Alabama State University, and the University of Florida’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center.
Corporate partners like TD Bank and the TD Foundation, Truist and VyStar Credit Union have helped AAEA become a direct support organization for minority businesses in four states, while corporate sponsors like AdventHealth, the Daytona Tortugas and Intracoastal Bank support the mission.
“I want to thank the city council and mayor, especially the mayor for being intentional about creating an inclusive environment when it comes to economic development for all of us in this community,” shared Giscombe.
“I also want to thank the people of Palm Coast. I’ve been here for 32 years, I don’t look that way, I was one of the young families that moved here back in ’91, when it was only 2 traffic lights, by the way,” he teased.
“It’s amazing to see the growth and I’m just ecstatic to know our organization started here in 2016 basically and became a nonprofit in 2018, but thanks to the governor at the time, now Senator Scott, we’re now in four states. So it all started here in Flagler County, and I am truly grateful to Flagler County for helping build this initiative that we’ve started and has branched out to four or five different cities throughout the United States. Thank you guys so much. I appreciate it.”
Providing education, resources, networking and financial opportunities, Giscombe has become the face of the minority business community and created a reputation as a staunch advocate for entrepreneurs.
“AAEA fosters economic development through entrepreneurship within the African American community through education, mentoring workshops, and micro financing opportunities, and whereas the City of Palm Coast acknowledges the critical importance of supporting Black entrepreneurs and businesses to ensure the thriving, local economy and a more just society,” read Palm Coast Councilwoman Cathy Heighter from the city’s proclamation.
“And whereas by commemorating National Black Business Month, the City of Palm Coast reaffirms its commitment to fostering an inclusive environment that values diversity, encourages economic empowerment and works toward eradicating inequities,” continued Heighter, officially designating August 2023 as National Black Business Month.
The AAEA will receive proclamations from the Flagler County Board of Commissioners, the City of Bunnell and the City of Daytona Beach in recognition of National Black History Month.