May 9, 2018

Small Business Week 2018 Recap

Small Business Week is a national celebration and recognition of small businesses, their owners, and employees. Every year since 1963 the first week of May has been presidentially proclaimed as National Small Business Week. Every city has a different way of celebrating with various events and activities throughout the week. For the Columbia Chamber, Small Business Week events and activities are planned by the Small Business Council, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. This year in partnership with the City of Columbia, Richland County, The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) South Carolina District, and other local organizations, the Columbia Chamber hosted or participated in the following events:

Monday: Columbia Chamber Kick Off Press Conference at Uptown on Main with City of Columbia, Richland County, and SBA South Carolina District

This year the Columbia Chamber wanted to start the celebration of Small Business Week literally at one of its small businesses. Uptown on Main, a Chamber Partner since 2009, was an ideal choice and highlighted the drastic enhancements that the Main Street District has seen since the Store opened there in the fall of 2008.

This event kicks off the start of Small Business Week with a proclamation from the City of Columbia and from Richland County and provides an opportunity for local businesses to hear success stories from a small business owner. Uptown on Main is a locally owned gift boutique offering a carefully curated selection of gifts, accessories, and Certified South Carolina gourmet foods. Uptown owner, Martha Studstill, is also a board member of the City Center Partnership.

*In photo from left to right: David Lockwood, Chairman of Columbia Chamber Board of Directors, Colliers International South Carolina, Inc.; Council Chairwoman Joyce Dickerson, Richland County; Mayor Pro Tem Tameika Isaac Devine, City of Columbia; Gregg White, Small Business Administration; Martha Studstill, Uptown on Main, Owner; Carl Blackstone, Columbia Chamber, President & CEO.

Tuesday: Small Business Week Luncheon & Panel: Resources, Contracts, and More

For the Small Business Luncheon and Panel on Tuesday, the Columbia Chamber invited leaders from government entities to speak about small business contracts and advice on applying for them. Speakers included:

  • Melissa Lindler
    Director, Office of Business Opportunity, City of Columbia
  • Bryant Davis
    Assistant Director of Community and Government Services, Richland County
  • Tomika L. Brown
    Chief Business Operations, Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Jackson
  • Savannah Wilburn
    Economic Development Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Anthony Cromartie
    DBE Certification Program Manager, SCDOT

During the engaging and informative luncheon, over 40 small business owners attended and were able to learn how to position their business. The session concluded with a robust question and answer period.

*Panelists joined by Henri Baskins, Columbia Chamber Executive Vice President and Ron Harvey, Columbia Chamber Small Business Council Chairman.

Wednesday: SBA 2018 Salute to Small Business

In partnership with the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Department of Commerce, South Carolina Small Business Development Center, and SCMEP, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) held a half-day event for small businesses across the state to get connected with new opportunities and resources. Part of the event was a Small Business Awards Luncheon that honored South Carolina’s top entrepreneurs and small businesses advocates. Chamber Partners TD Bank, and Wells Fargo were recognized as top S.C. 7(a) Lenders of the Year and South State Bank was recognized as S.C. 3rd Party Lender of the Year.

*South State Bank receiving award.

*TD Bank receiving award.

*Wells Fargo receiving award.

Thursday: “Leading the Change: Assets, Options, & Opportunities” – City of Columbia

In partnership with the Columbia Chamber, SBA, and Office of Business Opportunities, the City of Columbia hosted a full-day of break-out sessions, keynote speakers, and networking opportunities at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. More than 400 small business owners or employees were in attendance. Speaker topics ranged from networking tips to marketing pointers to learning about the Latino business market.

*Columbia Chamber Small Business Council Chairman, Ron Harvey, introducing speaker panel.

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