HotChat Featuring Secretary Jimmy Rhee

About the Episode:

The small business community, which includes minority business owners, is one of the most important economic drivers in the United States. The minority business community is vital to our economy and has the potential to grow even more. These diverse businesses need an environment where they can come together and collaborate so that they are all able to thrive. Join this conversation with Jimmy Rhee and learn how and why MBE owners must be prepared for long-term economic downturns and pandemics that may affect the market.

Jimmy Rhee was appointed Special Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs (formerly the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs) by Governor Larry Hogan and began service to the State of Maryland in January 2015. Rhee’s responsibilities include advising the governor on policy matters related to small, minority- and women-owned businesses and monitoring the state’s Small Business Reserve (SBR) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) procurement programs across 70 agencies.

In this episode, we discuss: Connecting the small business community to greater economic opportunities, how minority business owners can come together and collaborate, & what MBEs need during the pandemic and the rise in Asian hate crimes over the past few years.

Here’s What You’ll Get In This Episode

[00:01] Episode intro and a quick bio of today’s guest

[04:55] Jimmy Rhee’s love for the Blues Music group

[07:03] A bit of Jimmy’s early years and how he found himself in America

[08:57] How it was growing up with a stepfather who was a taekwondo master

[11:29] Developing interest in the area of minority business economic development

[13:45] His role in the office of the Governor of Virginia

[16:43] Achievement he’s always proud of with the appointment since 2015

[19:32] What can be done to improve access to capital and opportunities for the SMBs

[21:38] The devastating Covid pandemic and what MBEs need to do

[24:30] Best practices he has witnessed for nurturing small minority businesses 

[27:58] Key headlines he gives to Governor Hogan’s administration on supporting SMBs

[30:15] The rise in Asian hate crimes over the past few years

[39:09] Ending the show and call to action

Notable Quotes

  • Small business owners work so hard. There are no breaks or weekends for them.
  • Money to business is like blood to the body.
  • The majority of the businesses without online access practically died during the pandemic.
  • All communities where small minority businesses succeed will be happier, healthier, and with fewer crimes.
  • Aspiration itself is not good enough. Action is what we should go after.

Connect with Jimmy Rhee



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