Drury University partners with Multicultural Businesses Association to bolster local minority-owned businesses with marketing assistance

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., June 23, 2022 – Drury University Communication Department students are currently working with area minority-owned businesses to provide free marketing services and training. The initiative is a one-year collaborative project with the Multicultural Business Association and made possible through the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion grant from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

“In our position at Drury, having the skills and knowledge that we have, I think it’s important to bring together the academia and community in a meaningful way,” said Dr. Elnaz Parviz, Drury assistant professor in communications. “Our students can use the skills they’ve learned in the classroom to contribute to an important cause.”

The students bring a breadth of knowledge to the project, including website design, copy writing, photography, graphic design and digital content creation.

“I’m able to transfer my skills to create an equitable marketing environment for these businesses,” said campaign specialist and recent Drury graduate, Lauren Inman. “Some people don’t have the advantages we do, so we’re able to take those skills and give them to someone else.”

Left to right: • Melesha Bailey, Justin Loudermill, Heather Noggle

Nine businesses owners were interviewed to participate in the campaign and three were chosen:

“I feel like I’m supported, they’re giving me tools I can continue to use and also I feel like they’re giving me a solid plan,” said Loudermill. “To have something that’s structured, and I can see results, it’s live changing.”

The initiative will continue through December 2022 and culminate with students assisting the business owners in planning, running and promoting a major event while the business owners take full responsibility of their social media.

“This gradual campaign running is going to empower them and give them enough resources and skills so when we’re gone, they can continue this work,” said Parviz. “One of other goals is sustainability for the MBA as an organization and their members.”

The grant also allowed students to update the MBA’s website and logo as well as host two workshops for MBA members and interested minority business owners. The workshops cover multiple topics such as how to create a marketing plan, a style guide and a content calendar.

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Media Contact: Jasmine Bailey, Director of University Communications and Media Relations – (417) 873-7390 or [email protected]

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