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Maria Noel is New Chamber Director of Minority Business Assistance
The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce has named Maria Noel as its new Director of Minority Business Assistance. Noel will be the first person to hold this position, which the Chattanooga Chamber has created to lead its newly established Minority Business Assistance Program.
According to Tom Edd Wilson, Chamber president and CEO, Noel’s economic development experience and excellent community connections are key factors that position her for success in launching this new initiative. “The Minority Business Assistance Program can only succeed if area business leaders come together in developing and adopting strategies to foster job creation and positive economic activity among minority-owned companies,” Wilson said. “Maria has a great track record for engaging volunteer leaders in a way that gets things done.”
“I am excited about joining the Chattanooga Chamber team, which has done so much to establish our community as a national player in economic development,” said Noel. “I look forward to working with both the staff and the business community with a goal of supporting Chattanooga’s minority-owned businesses in making our economy into a national model for diversity and business friendliness.”
Ron Harr, the Chamber’s in-coming president and CEO, stressed the importance of the Minority Business Assistance Program. “Our local economy cannot achieve its full potential until everyone in our community realizes his or her full economic potential,” Harr said. “Our Minority Business Assistance Program aims to assist emerging and existing minority business owners and entrepreneurs in maximizing their job and wealth creation in our city.”
According to Noel, her first step will be to engage minority business leaders in building out the plan for the initiative. “The Chamber has a variety of effective programs including one of the nation’s largest and most successful business incubators,” Noel said. “In addition to marketing and adapting these programs to maximize the engagement of minority business owners, we will launch new efforts based on the expressed needs and priorities of the minority business community.”
From 2003 to the present, Maria Noel has worked in economic development for The Enterprise Center where her duties allowed her to build strong connections among both businesspeople and residents in many urban communities. Her work included corporate recruitment, supporting existing industry expansion, communicating economic development incentives, business education, and leveraging public-private partnerships in support of community revitalization. The Renewal Community Program, which she managed, resulted in the construction or renovation of 75 buildings while supporting the creation of over 1,000 jobs. Noel’s business experience also includes more than 25 years in marketing, public relations, and communications. In addition, Noel serves on the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise Board, where she is a member of the Executive, Finance and Governance Committees. She is also Vice President of Programs and Special Events for the Chattanooga Technology Council Board and has served on the Board of the Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority.
A native of Chattanooga, Maria earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She is a 1988 graduate of Leadership Chattanooga
More Business News
Last Update on October 30, 2014 17:28 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew at a solid annual rate of 3.5 percent in the July-September quarter, propelled by solid gains in business investment, export sales and the biggest jump in military spending in five years.
The Commerce Department says that the third quarter result followed a 4.6 percent rebound in the second quarter. The economy shrank at a 2.1 percent rate in the first three months of the year due to a harsh winter.
The report was the first of three estimates of the gross domestic product, the economy's total output of goods and services. Economists believe the economy is maintaining momentum in the current quarter with consumer spending expected to be helped by a big fall in gas prices.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose slightly last week, but remained at historically low levels that signal a strengthening job market.
The Labor Department says weekly applications increased 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined 250 to 281,000, the lowest level in more than 14 years.
Applications are a proxy for layoffs and have fallen 20 percent in the past year. The steady decline suggests that businesses are sufficiently confident in the economy to hold onto their staffs. That same confidence could lead them to step up hiring.
The economy expanded at a solid annual rate of 3.5 percent in the July-September quarter, according to a separate government report. That's healthy enough to encourage more hiring.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates arrested their five-week decline this week but the benchmark 30-year loan remained below 4 percent.
Mortgage company Freddie Mac says the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.98 percent from 3.92 percent last week. It remained at its lowest level since June 2013. The rate stood at 4.53 percent back in January.
The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, increased to 3.13 percent from 3.08 percent.
The sustained decline in long-term rates sparked a boomlet of homeowners looking to refinance mortgages. Homeowners eager for a bargain rate fired off inquiries to lenders. Applications for "re-fi's" reached their highest level since November 2013 in the week ended Oct. 17, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators are suing baby food-maker Gerber for claiming that its Good Start Gentle formula can prevent or reduce allergies in children.
The Federal Trade Commission says that claim is bogus and that the New Jersey-based company misled consumers by suggesting the formula was the first to meet government approval for reducing the risk of allergies.
The FTC says it wants Gerber to remove that claim from formula labels and advertisements. The agency also wants Gerber to reimburse consumers who have bought the formula since 2011, when the claim began.
Gerber Products Co., also known as NestlT Infant Nutrition, says in a statement that it believes it has met all legal requirements about product claims.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is considering matching online prices from competitors like Amazon.com, raising the stakes for the holiday shopping season.
The world's largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, has matched prices of local store competitors but hadn't followed moves by other retailers like Best Buy or Target to match prices of online rivals. It said it has been testing the strategy in certain markets and is trying to figure out whether to go ahead.
The strategy comes as Wal-Mart is trying to rev up sluggish sales in the U.S. but it could also erode profits.
A Wal-Mart spokeswoman says many store managers have matched online prices for customers on a case-by-case basis.
The move was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
UNDATED (AP) -- Microsoft is looking to challenge Apple and Google with its own system for consolidating health and fitness data from various fitness gadgets and mobile apps. Microsoft is also releasing a $199 fitness band to work with this system.
As more athletes and recreationalists track their fitness, a chief frustration has been the inability to bring data from one gadget into an app made by a rival. As a result, nutrition information might reside in one place, while data on calories burned might be in another. Consolidating data gives users and health professionals a bigger picture on health.
Microsoft Health follows the launch of Apple's HealthKit in September and Google Fit earlier this week. Unlike rival systems, Microsoft Health will work with competing phones, not just those running Windows.
MADRID (AP) -- Spain's parliament has approved new intellectual property laws that allow news publishers to charge aggregators each time they display news content in search results.
The law goes into effect Jan. 1 but does not specify how much aggregators like Google News could be charged. Spain's AEDE group of news publishers had lobbied for what is known as the "Google Tax" but has not provided specifics.
Google Inc.'s Spanish division said Thursday it was disappointed with the outcome and will work with Spanish news publishers to help them increase income.
Google last year agreed to help French news organizations increase online advertising revenue and fund digital publishing innovations to settle a dispute there over whether it should pay for news content in its search results.
BEIJING (AP) -- Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group has completed its acquisition of Motorola Mobility from Google Inc. in a move aimed at becoming a global smartphone brand.
Lenovo said it completed the $2.9 billion purchase on Thursday, adding to a flurry of acquisitions and initiatives aimed at transforming the world's biggest maker of personal computers into a major player in wireless computing.
Google bought Motorola Mobility in 2012 for $12.4 billion but appeared to decide quickly the purchase was a mistake. It sold its set-top operations to Arris Group Inc. for $2.35 billion and its smartphone assets, along with some 2,000 patents, to Lenovo.
Lenovo chairman Yang Yuanqing said when the purchase was announced in January that it would help transform Lenovo into a global competitor in smartphones.
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