During the week of May 4, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrated America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs with events, webinars, and more.
This year’s theme, “Dream Big, Start Small,” honored countless small business owners and entrepreneurs for their hard work, contributions to our communities, and the impact they have on innovation, job growth, and America’s global competitiveness.
All week events focused on trade, small business loans, programs for veterans, millennial entrepreneurs, and more.
The week came to a close with the InnovateHER competition during which entrepreneurs pitched products and services that benefit women for a chance to win a stake in $30,000 of prize money provided by Microsoft, as well as an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. when our national award winners were recognized.
We loved having so many of you physically attend our events, and we know many of you were also able to join the events via live-stream.
However, we know not everybody had the chance to participate in National Small Business Week, so we wanted to provide an overview of Small Business week highlights and video clips from this year’s events.
Monday: Boca Raton, Florida
On Monday, May 4, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet and Office Depot CEO Roland Smith kicked off our conversations on how to obtain financing for your small business.
Highlights of the day included panel discussions on the availably of loans for small businesses, supply chain management for small business, and how most financial institutions make decisions about small business loans.
If you didn’t tune in via live-stream, you can watch the full session here to catch the speakers’ candid conversations with audience members about their experiences as entrepreneurs.
Tuesday: Los Angeles, California
Our May 5 events included a town hall-style meeting focused on international trade.
Speakers included Alice Rodriguez, Executive Vice President, JPMorgan Chase, as well as Austin Beutner, LA Times Publisher and CEO. Rodriguez focused on the importance of a global footprint while Beutner spoke about modern entrepreneurship.
Later that day, a panel of experts came together for a discussion on trade. The full meeting and panel discussion are available to watch here.
Wednesday: San Antonio, Texas
On May 6, we landed in San Antonio for another town hall-style meeting focused on how small businesses can benefit from SBA’s financial programs including LINC, a new SBA program that connects small businesses with SBA approved small business lenders.
SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet engaged in discussion with attendees on the opportunities and challenges that small businesses face on a regular basis. Members from President Barack Obama’s Cabinet were also present at the event.
Thursday: New York, New York
On Thursday, May 7, National Small Business Week took center stage in New York City for a town hall conversation on entrepreneurship. The event was hosted by Mike Muse, CEO of record label Muse Recordings, successful music executive, and radio personality.
Mike, who has been able to sustain his success throughout his career, highlighted the individual journeys of a diverse set of entrepreneurs, giving attendees the opportunity to connect with successful entrepreneurs across many different industries in New York City.
If you missed the live-stream of Thursday’s event, you can watch the full session on YouTube here.
Friday: Washington, D.C.
We wrapped up the week’s events on Friday in Washington, D.C., where the SBA distributed National Small Business Week awards, including its Exporter of the Year Award and the award for the National Small Business Person of the Year.
Check out this video clip for live video highlighting this year’s winners from a portion of that awards ceremony.
Friday also featured the inaugural InnovateHER final competition, a live pitch competition that featured 15 entrepreneurs whose products and services best met the SBA’s competition criteria and presented the greatest potential for success in supporting the lives of women and families.
Each top finalist presented a two-minute pitch on their product or service in front of a team of judges.
First place winner Bethany Edwards of Lia Diagnostics received $15,000 in prize money for her flushable pregnancy test.
The second place $10,000 prize went to Lisa Crites, creator of The Shower Shirt, a garment for breast cancer mastectomy patients to wear in the shower and keep surgery sites dry and clean.
The third place $5,000 prize went to Sophia Berman of Trusst Lingerie, which provides a better bra for larger busted women.
The full video of the final InnovateHER pitches, the Administrator’s commentary, commentary from Microsoft’s Cindy Bates, and an all-female panel on small business investment tips is available here.
If you missed anything during National Small Business Week 2015, you can check out the full list of training materials, event videos, and webinars on the National Small Business Week YouTube page.
We look forward to celebrating small businesses and entrepreneurs again during National Small Business Week 2016!
Image: Maria Contreras Sweet/SBA
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