The Greater Memphis Chamber Works to Boost Minority and Women-Owned Businesses

Release date: 3/7/2016

Announces Training and Forgivable Loan Program for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Certification
Memphis, Tenn. – The Greater Memphis Chamber announced the establishment of a forgivable loan program for Minority and Women-Owned Businesses (MWBEs) to be trained and certified in the internationally recognized quality management system, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO certified companies adhere to standards for world-class specifications for products, services and systems to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. These quality management standards are recognized locally, nationally and in 163 countries around the world for almost every business industry. 

“Companies who are ISO certified can compete and receive more lucrative contracts from government agencies and many of the larger companies that require their vendors to be ISO certified,” said Phil Trenary, President & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “The ISO certification also gives companies the opportunity to open new markets and compete globally.”
ISO training and certification can cost a company as much as $35,000. The Chamber will combine the training of six companies in the same class to greatly reduce costs and establish a $15,000 forgivable loan for eligible companies. If a company completes the requirements for training, certification and evaluations, the total amount of the loan is forgiven. 
Beginning this week, the Chamber will be accepting forgivable loan applications online at The deadline for submitting an application is Wednesday, March 30, 2016. The Chamber will select six MWBEs for the first ISO training class, which begins on Monday, April 25, 2016.
“The Greater Memphis Chamber is the first organization in the county to make ISO training and certification available as a forgivable loan to minority and women business owners,” said Dr. Donn Fisher, Executive Director and CEO of the Mid-South Quality Productivity Center and a partner of the Chamber. “With success, this could have a great impact on how cities could remedy the disparity gap in the awards of contracts. ISO training has proven to improve customer service, boost productivity and performance, attract new customers and reduce costs through efficiency.”
Additional information on eligibility for the Forgivable Loan Program for ISO Training and Certification for those wishing to participate is outlined on the Chamber’s website or by calling Jean Reid at 901-543-3552. If members of the press have any questions, they can contact Jenny Fish at or 901-543-3558. Partners in the program include the Greater Memphis Chamber and the Mid-South Quality Productivity Center, and funded in part by the Assisi Foundation of Memphis.
The Greater Memphis Chamber is the lead economic development agency for Memphis/Shelby County, and is a private, non-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of 2,300 business enterprises, civic organizations, educational institutions and individuals.