You can find plenty of events for small businesses and startups this summer and fall, to educate yourself and your staff, and to network with your peers. Here is our hand-picked list of conferences, seminars and events. Don’t miss out on these excellent opportunities to help you start a business, grow it and run it like a pro!
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Multiple Cities and Dates 2012 – see website for full list
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations. Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurials. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education. Whether you are looking for feedback on a idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.
Spark & Hustle Tour
Multiple Cities and Dates, May through August 2012
Led by Tory Johnson, the jam-packed, high-energy day enables you to experience big breakthroughs in your business and yourself.
Meet great people who can help with product development and packaging; manufacturing and distribution; multiple revenue streams and collaborations; mental preparedness for monumental success; and so much more.
Beyond the jam-packed sessions, this event is ideal to meet partners, collaborators and even clients!
VIP Contract Connections & Teaming from American Express Open
August 2, 2012, Boston
The Federal Government awards nearly $100 billion in contracts annually to small business owners. Are you ready to learn how to help grow your business through government contracting?
This event gives attendees the access to buyer/seller connections (VIP Contract Connections), interactive and engaging workshops on government contracting for small business, networking opportunities and keynote speeches by government officials and experts.
Infusionsoft Small Business Success Tour
August 16 – San Francisco
August 24 – San Diego
September 13 – Chicago
September 28 – Los Angeles
October 5 – Boston
This series features a full day of strategies, tips and marketing best practices from the experts at Infusionsoft. You’ll receive hands-on instructions on how to develop a highly effective sales and marketing plan you can start implementing right away. You’ll learn to:
Drive higher customer referral traffic tomorrow
Calculate and optimize the lifetime value of your customers
Create a constant flow of new customers who are ready to buy
Build a healthy and responsive database
Get the right message, to the right person, at the right time
Department of the Navy (DON) Small Business Opportunity Conference
August 6-8, 2012, San Diego
The DON OSBP is conducting its annual Gold Coast Small Business Opportunity Conference in San Diego, CA on 06-08 August 2012. The primary purpose of the event is to provide a forum to educate, guide and assist small businesses in working with the government primarily the Department of Defense. NDIA and NAVSUP have collaborated to bring interesting and motivating speakers that will present topics of interest with regards to working with the government. Plan on attending informative and relevant general/plenary and break-out sessions including Industry Day with five of the Navy commands. Visit over 250 industry and government exhibitors along with dozens of posters containing company information and opportunities. As with any of these events, there are also plenty of opportunities for networking.
Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Governor’s Small Business Forum
August 7, 2012
The Forum is designed to give small business owners essential tools to help their businesses succeed, provide jobs for Texans and strengthen the South Plains economy. The Texas Workforce Commission will present information on the many services available for small business owners, including the $2 million dollar Skills for Small Business Fund, which provides grants to community colleges that small businesses may access for employee training needs.
MacTech Boot Camp
August 7 – San Diego, CA
September 5 – Minneapolis, MN
December 5 – Miami, FL
MacTech Boot Camp is a one day event for those that support the home user, and small business market held around the country. MacTech Boot Camp is a single-track, hotel based seminar that is specifically geared to serve the needs of consultants and techs wanting to serve their base better. This event is geared toward those that already support the home and SMB communities, or that want to become a consultant supporting these areas.
Entrepreneur Week Presents: Olympic-Size Networking Extravaganza
August 9, 2012, New York City
Join 200 others for big laughs, engaging conversation, and an intimate networking space. Attended by accomplished professionals & entrepreneurs + all around fun crowd from a variety of industries including: Tech, Fashion, Mobile, Angel Investors, Venture Capitalists, Real Estate, Hospitality, Green Energy/Sustainability, and many more!
Network with Entrepreneurs, Investors and/or come find a co-founder.
Angel investors and vc’s get up in front of the crowd promptly at 7pm to discuss areas they invest, what they’re looking for, and more.
Sage Summit 2012
August 12-14, 2012, Nashville, TN
Sage Summit is the premier conference for Sage customers and partners. It’s the destination for learning better ways to leverage the software you already own and know and discovering new technologies. Plus you’ll hear what’s working for other people in your industry and gain insight on how to overcome the challenges your organization faces.
Small Business Trends CEO Anita Campbell will be moderating a panel about social media by small businesses, on Wednesday August 15, from 10:30 am to noon. Look for Session ID C-0128 – hurry, limited slots left.
2012 Kansas Business Matchmaker
August 14, 2012, Wichita, KS
Kansas Business Matchmaker 2012 brings buyers and small business suppliers together for pre-matched one-on-one meetings in a 1 day conference. Small Business Suppliers pre-register for the event, using their company NAICS codes, and are pre-matched with registered buyers for 10 minute meetings.
One Woman National Business Conference and Expo
August 17-18, 2012, Sugar Land, TX
“Changing the Face of Business One Woman at a Time” is the theme of the taking place Aug. 17 and Aug. 18 at Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. The two-day conference will give business owners, entrepreneurs and corporate employees the chance to network with like-minded decision makers.The conference also features a trade show exhibiting products, services and business opportunities.
Speakers will discuss industry trends and business growth strategies. Supplier diversity officers will talk about how to better serve the small business community and meet new potential suppliers.There will also be a “Youth Explosion” program for young entrepreneurs. One Woman is an annual women’s business promotion, advocacy and development forum.
Small Business Event Vendor Outreach Session
August 23, 2012, Washington, DC
Vendor Outreach Sessions are a series of pre-arranged 15-minute appointments with Small Business Specialists from various components of the Homeland Security Procurement offices. These sessions provide the small business community an opportunity to discuss their capabilities and learn of potential procurement opportunities. Also in attendance will be Prime Contractor Small Business Liaisons from several of the large businesses who have contracts with DHS.
Sign up for the August 23rd VOS will be on August 16th 2012 beginning at 12:00 noon Eastern Time. Please read the instructions carefully as the sessions fill up quickly. Instructions can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/xopnbiz/smallbusiness/gc_1297786003006.shtm.
TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs
September 20-21, 2012, New York City
For women entrepreneurs, tech knowledge is freedom…freedom from fear, freedom to pursue their dreams of venturing out on their own. No longer will they be out of the loop from their tech team, no longer will they be held hostage by their consultants who “know more”.
At TechSpeak for Entrepreneurs, you will learn:
How to plan, in detail, your entire project so that your tech team will know exactly what to do.
How to hire the right tech people.
How to manage the project and catch mistakes early
How to deliver you project on time and on budget
Early bird pricing expires July 30th.
MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2012
October 3-5, 2012, Boston
B2B Forum isn’t just another event. It’s the event for B2B marketers who don’t just follow yesterday’s best practices; they create the next practices needed to move their businesses—and industries—forward.
Five programming tracks covering the modern marketing mix: lead gen, content, social media, mobile, and marketing essentials.
Dozens of smart sessions by professionals on the pulse of marketing trends and growth.
Inc. 500 | 5000
October 3-5, 2012, Phoenix, AZ
Inc. 500|5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony is the must-attend event for the nation’s leading entrepreneurs. Join your colleagues and peers for three days of unparalleled networking and learning from the leaders of America’s fastest-growing companies. This year’s speakers include Captain Mark Kelly, Commander of the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final mission, Guy Kawasaki, Founding Partner of Garage Technology Ventures, and Marie Tillman, Founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Women’s Business Conference 2012
October 4-5, 2012, Louisville, KY
This year’s theme celebrates the entrepreneurial, innovative and adventurous spirit of women business owners. They are starting businesses at record rates and running these businesses on their own terms. They refuse to sit idle, waiting and watching. They have confidence and power to shake things up, take smart risks and do things differently to move forward. They are impacting positive change at every turn, speaking out on issues of public policy, lightening their environmental footprint and creating jobs that fuel the economy. They are part of something much greater than themselves—a grassroots movement of women business owners and their community of supporters all dedicated to helping one another grow, thrive, give back and leave a legacy.
The New York Enterprise Report 2012 Small Business Awards
October 10, 2012, New York City
The New York Enterprise Report Small Business Awards is the annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of the 500,000+ small businesses throughout the tri-state area. Now in its 7th year, the Awards gala attracts more than 400 business owners and executives and is often referred to as “the networking event of the year.” Don’t miss the chance to do business with the “who’s who” of the New York small business community.
Pubcon Vegas 2012
October 15-18, 2012
Supported by the industry’s leading businesses, exhibitors and sponsors involved in social media, Internet marketing, search engines, and online advertising, Pubcon Las Vegas 2012 will offer a week-long look at the future of technology presented by over 200 of the world’s best speakers in more than 100 bold cutting-edge sessions.
Small Business Influencer Awards Gala
October 17, 2012, New York City
The Small Business Influencer Awards will honor the Top 100 small business influencer champions at a festive Awards Gala on the evening of October 17, 2012 at the Javits Convention Center. Last year’s event had a capacity crowd at a smaller venue. This year it will be bigger than ever — with the Awards Gala as the evening event at the New York XPO Small Business Conference. Don’t miss this exciting event! See last year’s recap. Meanwhile, be sure to nominate someone for the Small Business Influencer Awards (perhaps yourself?).
Small Business Expo
November 8, 2012, Los Angeles
Small Business Expo is a full day networking event, trade show & conference of the year for business owners, C-Level Executives & company decision-makers.
Network with other business professionals & check out the exciting exhibitor hall
Establish new contacts and reconnect with old ones.
Further your education by attending workshops & seminars.
Learn about new products and services that will help your business grow.
Interact with the movers and shakers of your industry.
Discover new and innovative technologies.
Global Entrepreneurship Week
November 12-18, 2012, 20+ Countries
Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.
New Media Expo
January 6-8, 2013, Las Vegas
NMX, formerly Blog World & New Media Expo, is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to providing valuable content for Bloggers, Podcasters and Web TV producers. Pre-register now and receive Super Early Bird rates.
To find more small business events, contests and awards, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.
If you are putting on a small business event or contest, and want to get the word out, please submit it through our Events & Contests Submission Form (it’s free). Only events of interest to small business people, freelancers and entrepreneurs will be included.
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I hate to seem negative, but my experience with the small business matchmaking sessions of the federal government is that it’s a way for the small business utilization representatives (OSDBUs) to justify their jobs while accomplishing nothing. We found that a more effective way to network in to doing federal contracting was to find a few large businesses who did not have team members who could do what we did. Offer a unique value proposition which is additive to their team, and you can land on a contract with them. It’ll give you a beachhead from which to expand the relationship.