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800 Initiative benefits local company
800 Initiative benefits local company
Posted on 06/13/2018
Last month, Mayor Jim Strickland announced the launch of The 800 Initiative, designed to empower minority-owned businesses in Memphis and increase equity in the Troy Watson, ServiceMaster Facilities Maintenancecity’s economy. The initiative will offer technical assistance, coaching, loans, and grants to roughly 800 African-American-owned businesses that are in between start-up and full scale phases. 

One organization that will benefit from the initiative is ServiceMaster Facilities Maintenance on South Mendenhall Road. The company -- an independently operated franchise operation of ServiceMaster Clean -- provides janitorial services to top companies across the United States, such as Nike, FedEx, International Paper, and Georgia Pacific.

William “Troy” Watson, vice-president and chief operating officer, says the initiative is a way for Memphis to move forward. He says the initiative will help ServiceMaster Facilities Maintenance with training, retention, and wages.

“I think the ultimate goal is to be able to even the playing field,” Watson said. “You have high wages over here and low wages in these ZIP Codes. … How do we even the playing field? We’ve got all kind of initiatives, all kind of companies getting people ready to go to work. That’s the biggest thing – is to be able to get people prepared for work.”

“What this initiative does is that it allows the youth, major corporations -- such as ServiceMaster Facilities Maintenance and other third parties involved-- it gives that employee a sense of belonging,” said Larry Smith, senior operations manager. “It allows that employee -- whether it’s a high school student or college intern -- it gives them a sense of connectivity to their community and to the business sector.”

ServiceMaster Facilities Maintenance offers a variety of positions for different skill levels and interests such as janitorial, sales, human resources, accounting, and management. 

“The 800 Initiative, along with the City of Memphis, is a commitment to grow minority businesses and we want to be a part of that” said Watson.

The initiative’s goal is to help businesses grow their collective annual revenue by $50 million in five years. It’s made possible by a $500,000 allocation in Mayor Strickland’s 2018-19 budget as well as a $1 million commitment over four years from FedEx. The initiative’s programming will be hosted by the City’s Office of Business Diversity and Compliance.

To learn more about ServiceMaster Facilities Maintenance, click here.
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