In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, small businesses often struggle to gain visibility and traction. Amidst the challenges of limited resources, budget constraints, and fierce competition, small business owners frequently find themselves fighting an uphill battle. But what if there were a way to level the playing field, to give these entrepreneurs a chance to thrive and grow? Enter Elton Hollis III and Joe Tant, two men on a mission to bridge the gap between industry and small businesses through their inspiring “Chamber Up” program. Fueled by passion, determination, and an unwavering commitment to helping others, Hollis and Tant are making a significant impact on small businesses and their local communities.
The Chamber Up program, originating from the idea of “Small Business Friday,” was conceived in 2019 when Fernando Ramirez and Joe Tant started visiting local restaurants and cafes, inviting friends to join them. As they continued to explore the local business scene, the concept of representing small businesses without a huge marketing budget began to take shape. Their vision was to help these small businesses make a mark in the world of true “Small Business Owners.” In no time, a once-a-week radio program in English and Spanish was launched to put people on the air, promote their businesses, and offer valuable advice.
Joe Tant, the Vice President of Finance, Administration and Education at The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, and the Executive Director of The Port Arthur Education Foundation, is an ardent advocate for small businesses. With degrees from Cornell University and Baylor University, and multiple leadership roles across several organizations, Tant leverages his experience and connections to give small businesses a voice and equitable access to resources. His dedication to supporting small businesses extends to his personal life, where he is a loving father to three daughters, Brooke, Ariana, and Jacelyn, and proud owner of his yellow lab, Coffee.
Elton Hollis, III, a respected business growth and safety consultant, owns Hol-Tech Resources and serves as the General Manager of RT Technical Solutions LLC. With over 26 years of experience in the Oil and Gas Construction field, Hollis provides invaluable guidance to businesses in various industries. His expertise spans consulting, training, executive coaching, and all facets of safety management and compliance services for clients in the industrial, commercial, and small business sectors.
Hollis has held a wide range of titles throughout his career, from field laborer to executive ownership, and prides himself on being able to problem solve for his clients by utilizing a diligent work attitude with creative critical thinking. He is well-regarded in the safety and training field for his small business training grant work in collaboration with Lamar Institute of Technology. Moreover, Hollis combines his expertise with a special interest in helping small businesses succeed by conducting marketing meetings, events, and numerous mentor speaking engagements.
In addition to his executive work, Elton is a co-founder of the Golden Triangle Industrial Group and Vice Chairperson for the Contractors Business Development Group. Both of these events help promote business growth by providing project information to local companies. Elton is an asset to the many committees and boards he sits on because he brings the voice of business, understands the industry perspective, cares deeply about entrepreneurs, and is not afraid to challenge conventional thinking.
Hollis has also been featured in several magazine articles and has been named in the Top 100 Entrepreneurs in Texas. He is a proud recipient of the 2022 BBB Torch Awards for Ethics Award for Microbusiness. In late 2021, he published his first book, “Creative Problem Solving,” followed by his second book, “Buy Into Yourself First,” which outlines successful business development tactics. Elton has even written his first song, “Kirbyville,”
which describes his youth growing up in small-town Texas and how it relates to him now. In his spare time, Elton enjoys spending time outdoors, exploring the Texas Hill Country on hiking trails. He also cherishes moments spent with his children and grandchildren and actively participates in charity work in his area.
Together, Tant and Hollis amplify small businesses’ stories through their wildly popular podcast, “Small Business Friday!” The podcast has been picked up by Spotify and ten other social media sites, boasting over 3.7 million viewers. By partnering with local chambers of commerce, the Chamber Up program highlights businesses of all sizes, free of charge, as the epitome of doing for others and trusting it will come back to them.
Tant and Hollis encourage people to support small businesses by shopping locally and committing to one small action for their favorite small businesses each week. This support could be as simple as making a purchase, leaving a positive review, or giving the business a shout-out on social media. Supporting small businesses each week not only gives peace of mind to business owners but also contributes to the overall health and growth of the local economy.
To further promote economic growth, the Chamber Up program has partnered with Atmosphere, a marketing platform, to highlight events in Southeast Texas. Upcoming events include the Southeast Texas Industrial Contractors Golf Tournament on October 6th, 2023, and the Chamber UP Program with the Vidor Chamber of Commerce and the Sour Lake Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber Up program’s main goal is to empower small businesses and promote economic growth in their communities. Through their combined expertise, passion, and dedication to their cause, Elton Hollis III and Joe Tant have created a powerful platform for small business owners to gain exposure and support. By connecting businesses with their local communities, they are fostering an environment where small businesses can flourish.
The Chamber Up program serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and the spirit of giving back. By empowering small businesses, they are not only bolstering local economies but also strengthening the social fabric of their communities. And as more people become aware of the program and the importance of supporting local businesses, the impact of their efforts will continue to grow.
Don’t miss the opportunity to support local businesses by tuning into the “Small Business Friday!” podcast on Spotify, Youtube, and Facebook. By doing so, you’re not only investing in a product or service – you’re investing in the dreams and aspirations of entrepreneurs who form the backbone of your community. So, join Elton Hollis III and Joe Tant in their mission to uplift small businesses and make a difference, one Small Business Friday at a time.