For the Culture: Tampa Bay woman helping diverse businesses score Super Bowl contracts

For The Culture

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – One local woman is heading a program that is ensuring diverse and minority businesses have opportunities to contract with the Super Bowl.

The biggest stage in football will be in Tampa in February. COVID-19 may have put NFL football on hold, but those planning Super Bowl LV have continued to prepare for the big day. That includes LaKendria Robinson. Robinson serves as the Director of the Business Connect and Community Outreach Program. This program is an effort to make sure local diverse businesses get an opportunity to contract with the Super Bowl.

“We look at businesses who are diverse owned; women, minority veteran, LGBTQ owned who have a good track record in the community and can really bring the Super Bowl to life,” Robinson said. “Me being a a black woman in this position means the world to me and it means the world to the businesses that I’m talking to because we have the opportunity to develop a really great relationships.”

Under Robinson’s direction, more than 1200 diverse businesses across Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties applied for the Business Connect Program. The application process started in November of 2019. As of March, roughly 215 businesses were picked to be a part of the program. Since March, the businesses have been undergoing training sessions with Robinson and Business Connect to prepare for February 7, 2021.

“There is a pretty even mix,’ Robinson said. Not only from their ethnicity or their diverse classification, but also from their location. However, it’s no secret that black and brown individuals in our community, especially business owners, they don’t get a fair shot.”

That’s why Robinson is making sure every color and background is represented at the Super Bowl.

“Mentally, knowing how vital making sure diverse businesses are incorporated and connected to the NFL, what’s your mind set like when it comes to that on a daily basis?” 8 On Your Sides’ Deanne King asked.

“My mind set is to make sure our vendors have a real seat at the table, that they are represented and that they have a voice in this process,” Robinson said.

Robinson is now giving a voice to those who may have only dreamed of working with the Super Bowl. Those dreams are now realities for 215 Bay area businesses.

From now until February, Robinson will work directly with the 215 businesses to prepare them for all Super Bowl festivities and the big game day.

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