Taking Miami by Storm

SATOP has formed Alliances with Economic Development Organizations (EDOs) to help market the program to small businesses.

Too good to be true – This is the reaction that many business people have when they first learn about the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program (SATOP). Small business owners are conditioned to be skeptical of offers that tout free services. This skepticism is further compounded when the offer includes the opportunity to put the same engineer that works on the space shuttle to work for your business. Now, imagine the challenge of trying to communicate this offer in a major metropolitan area such as Miami-Dade County. Fortunately, SATOP is able to tackle a challenge of this magnitude thanks to the help of two very prominent organizations – The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Tools for Change.

These organizations are helping to market SATOP and explain the program to local business owners in the Miami area. ''After meeting with Chamber President Bill Cullom, I was delighted to learn that the Chamber already had a very extensive plan containing a strong focus on technology. SATOP fit right in, and partnering with the Chamber provided us with the trust and credibility needed to create a genuine interest from the business community'', stated SATOP Director Paul Secor.

''We believe that this is a great opportunity for both our Chamber and its members. The Greater Miami Chamber has always taken great pride in our commitment to help strengthen existing industry. SATOP is a natural extension of that commitment'', declared Chamber President Bill Cullom. The organization is currently marketing SATOP in a number of different ways. Membership executives are armed with brochures and discuss the program with prospects. Chamber staff presents SATOP to new members and they also display SATOP materials at the various trade shows they attend. Lastly, special presentations have been made to the Chamber’s Executive Committee and their Board of Directors to educate their leadership as to how SATOP can help local businesses.

SATOP also partnered with Tools for Change, an organization dedicated to economic development, to help promote SATOP to businesses located within the urban community. ''Tools for Change is extremely active in terms of small business development and they really have a one-on-one connection with the businesses they assist. They cover everything from legal assistance to loan financing, so I think SATOP will benefit greatly from the personal touch that underscores the organization’s overall philosophy'', stated Paul Secor.

Tools for Change is discussing SATOP with every one of their new clients, presenting SATOP in the development workshops they conduct, and making special efforts to visit businesses within the construction industry. ''We have a number of businesses that are involved in various trades and services, and I think that SATOP will really be able to assist some of those entrepreneurs. When businesses need help they turn to us, and this is yet another added resource we can connect them with'', stated Elaine Black, Executive Director of Tools for Change.

Miami-Dade County represents a crucial geographic area for SATOP and the ability to help spur economic development in the South Florida region. According to the 2002 Harris Selectory, a national manufacturing directory, over 5,000 manufacturers are located within Miami-Dade County which represents a significant portion of Florida’s economy. ''Miami is a major hub of business activity and I feel very fortunate to have partners like the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and Tools for Change, helping us transfer Space Technology to South Florida'', stated Paul Secor.''