SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Minority-owned businesses in Utah have just received a new advocate. Sidni Shorter has been appointed as the director of Salt Lake Community College’s first Minority Business Center, according to a press release.

Utah is one of six new states to receive federal grant money from the Minority Business Development Agency to start a Minority Business Center. These centers are designed to provide expert assistance, capital, or direction for minority-owned businesses.

The new center will be located at SLCC’s Miller Campus and assist minority businesses in the community in their growth and development, the release said.

“By investing in and supporting minority-owned businesses, we begin today by building strong, competitive enterprises in the state of Utah. We are working today and preparing for a future that will need strong minority-owned business enterprises,” Shorter said.

Shorter previously worked in Louisiana in many business and social impact endeavors, including establishing a firm to invest in minority-owned businesses, assisting in the first woman-led African American-owned video game studio for Xbox 360 games and creating business courses for Baton Rouge Community College, according to the release.

Shorter did not originally plan to come to Utah, however, she was attracted to the state by its developing business landscape and the Utah Black Chamber. Shorter led the chamber as CEO starting in early 2022 and has since developed three new business expansion programs and increased membership by 125%, the release said.

“I can’t think of a better person to take this new opportunity and serve minority business owners across the state, on behalf of the college,” Executive Director of SLCC’s The Mill Entrepreneurship Center Beth Colosimo said.