Celebrating National Small Business Week in Valdosta

Barbara Kieker

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is celebrating National Small Business Week from May 20 to 26 with a full slate of networking, educational and fun activities for area small business leaders.  

"Our goal is to recognize the local small business community and attract support for their continued success," said the Chamber's Economic Development Director Varian Brown.

Since 1963, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has sponsored National Small Business Week to honor and empower small businesses.  According to the SBA, small businesses – defined as having fewer than 500 employees – represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms, employ half of all private sector employees and have generated 65 percent of net new jobs – or 9.8 million jobs – over the past 17 years.  In Valdosta, small businesses with 100 or fewer employees represent 99 percent of Chamber membership.

Weeklong Celebration Includes First-Ever Cash Mob

Activities celebrating the local small business community kick-off on Monday with an open invitation to join one of the Chamber's two lead groups – Valdosta Networking Professionals and Professionals Building Relationships.  According to Brown, the groups meet weekly and are typically open only to Chamber members.

"We're inviting any business owner or representative to participate next Monday.  It's a great opportunity to network and establish new relationships that can help generate business," Brown said.

The Valdosta Networking Professionals group meets noon to 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Hwy. 84 and the Professionals Building Relationships group meets noon to 1 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn on Gornto Rd.

On Tuesday, the Chamber is hosting a Lunch and Learn session titled Network Security for the 21st Century, which is presented by Circuitboard Computers & Technology.  The session will cover cyber-security, network security and the proliferation of cellular devices in business networks.  The Lunch and Learn will be held at the Chamber offices and registration through www.valdostachamber.com is required.

Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse, the Chamber and Valdosta Main Street will announce one downtown business to "cash mob."  Those attending the announcement are encouraged to "mob" the business by making a $20 purchase as soon as the business name is announced.

The 2012 Chamber Small Business Breakfast from 7:30 to 10:00 a.m. on Thursday features three speakers from area businesses:  Amy G. Hightower, CPA and senior tax manager with Carr, Riggs, & Ingram, Curt Fowler, president of Fowler & Company, a business advisory firm and Bob Ganzak, regional manager for Folkner Training and Associates, Inc. – providers of Dale Carnegie Training® in the region.  Cost is $20 for Chamber members and $25 for non-members and reservations are required.

On Thursday evening, the first course in the Dale Carnegie Training® – titled The Process for Success – will be offered free of charge at the Comfort Suites on St. Augustine Road.  Registration is encouraged.

At Sam's Club on Friday morning at 9:30, the Chamber and Sam’s Club will present Azalea Health Innovations with its U.S. Chamber Blue Ribbon Award.  The annual award was given in 2012 to 75 small businesses nationwide in recognition of excellent business practices, job creation and contributions to their communities.  

Throughout the week's events, participants can drop their business cards in to a drawing for a Sam's Club gift card.  The winner of the drawing will be announced at Friday's event.

More information on the National Small Business Week events is available at www.valdostachamber.com.

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.