Build Your Skills and Networking Connections at These Events!

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Conferences, seminars and other events get you out of a rut!  Don’t grow stale — get out there and network with your peers, pick up a few customers leads and meet industry players.  And learn!  Build your skills — take along an employee or two, also, and help them grow.  Check out this latest edition of our Small Business Events Guide covering the Spring and into the Summer, 2012, for options:

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Startup Weekend
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.


Vator Spark
May 1, 2012, Berkeley, CA

Vator is introducing Vator Spark, a series of master classes on innovative and disruptive topics relevant to succeeding as a technology entrepreneur. Vator Spark is a full-day, high-energy and accelerated class designed to give entrepreneurs the right knowledge platform, best practices and tools to succeed. The topic for the first Vator Spark is: “Got Game? How to Gamify Your Start-up”.


MacTech Boot Camp
May 1, 2012, Phoenix, AZ

This is a one day all inclusive event that is specifically for consultants and Apple techs. MacTech Magazine has put together this single-track seminar specifically geared to serve the needs of consultants and techs wanting to serve their base better, and build their consulting business. The curriculum is set by MacTech nationally and delivered by a combination of speakers from around the country, and from the region.


New York XPO for Business 2012
May 2-3, 2012, New York City

On May 2-3, 2012, business leaders from across New York will gather at the world famous Jacob K. Javits Convention Center for the 7th Annual New York XPO for Business. This highly acclaimed business event is expected to draw upwards of 10,000 attendees and over 200 exhibitors as the largest business-to-business marketplace in the region. Education will be offered throughout the day and will include over 40 quality information sessions covering sales, marketing, advertising, business growth, best business practices, social media and much more! You’ll be able to identify the latest products and services to meet your competitive challenges and discover the keys to financial success and stability.

Use promo code Smallbiz10 for $10 off any admission package


Government Small Business Conference
May 2-3, 2012

The Small Business Development Center and Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the University of South Florida make your pathway to winning government contracts easy by bringing buyers from federal, state and local government agencies and prime contractors all in one place. With more than 70 exhibitors, you’ll meet the company that needs your products and services. Previous representatives include: U.S. Special Ops Command, Jabil, Lockheed Martin, MacDill Air Force Base, Department of Veteran Affairs, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Harris and City of Tampa Purchasing, and more.


WCBS880 Working Women’s Business Luncheon
May 2, 2012, New York City

This unique event offers more than 500 business owners and professionals from around the tri-state area a comfortable atmosphere to network and learn about the personal and professional experiences of other women in business, government, sciences and the arts. From the opening networking session to the intimate conversation with highly regarded speakers; The Working Women’s Luncheon will provide advice and inspiration for women to network, entertain, learn and grow.

Featured speaker Nell Merlino is the Founder and President of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources for women to grow their micro businesses into million $ enterprises.


May 4-6, 2012, Chicago

SOBCon is a 2-day small business/entrepreneurial think tank — packed with business strategies and social media immersion. With a unique and highly interactive “Models & Masterminds” format, featuring compelling speakers and content, you will walk away with new ideas and the energy and network to implement them


Content Marketing Strategies Conference
May 8-9, 2012, Berkeley, CA

The Content Marketing Strategies Conference ( provides companies of any size a step-by-step systematic approach to developing a complete Content Marketing program that masters the content marketing life cycle: Strategize, Create, Curate, Manage, Distribute, and Analyze.

Subject experts will address topics along the life cycle. Day one kicks-off with insight into how to get started within each step. Day two, through a series of case studies, digs deep into successful companies like Dell, HP, ServiceMax, Kelly Services, SAS and more who have created successful content marketing programs.

By the end of the conference, you will walk away with a complete understanding of how to get started in content marketing or improve upon your existing initiatives. readers receive $50 off with promo code SMBIZTECH


The Small Business Expo
May 10, 2012, New York City

Small Business Expo New York City is one of the largest networking event, tradeshow & conference for business owners & business professionals. Business professionals will learn about products & services to help their business exceed its goals, network with other industry professionals & attend informative and cutting-edge workshops & seminars.


Word of Mouth Crash Course
May 10, 2012, Austin, TX

The Word of Mouth Crash Course is a mix of intense training, a rock show, and a family reunion. Get simple, hands-on advice from people who’ve really done it. This is a practical, you-can-do-it, blow-your-mind-with-results kind of day.

Make it work for you with real-world case studies from companies just like yours. Make it work with no budget — just brains, vision, energy, and a compelling reason for people to talk about you.


Internet Week New York
May 14-21, 2012

Since 2008, Internet Week has taken place all over the city, thanks to our many partners hosting diverse events in different locations.The result is a critical mass of web-focused events that raises the profile of NYC’s industry as a whole, as well as the partners who participate. Just like in 2010 and 2011, Internet Week NY HQ will be home to stages, classrooms, lounges, installations, and more. With 20,000 more square feet of Digital Playground as well as Conference Theater—Internet Week HQ at 82 Mercer is poised to be the best yet.


Confab: The Content Strategy Conference
May 14-16, 2012, Minneapolis

Deep dives. Conceptual discussions. Practical application. Whether you’re a seasoned content vet or new to the game, Confab has something for you. You’re sure to walk away with not only new insights and discoveries, but also the ability to actually DO something with them. A mixed agenda format will offer attendees a variety of ways to engage with and employ the innovative ideas that come from the scintillating content and unexpected environment.

The event content is aimed toward anyone who thinks of themselves as an innovative business leader including but not limited to the fields of technology, design, marketing, entertainment, venture capitalism, energy, infrastructure, non-profits and brand executives.


America’s Small Business Summit 2012
May 21-23, 2012, Washington, DC

US Chamber Small Business Summit

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s annual event — America’s Small Business Summit — unites small business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs from across the country to learn, network, and discuss common legislative and management concerns. Past speakers include former President George W. Bush, General Stanley McChrystal, Small Business Editor of the WSJ Colleen DeBaise, and many more. Attendees help influence our nation’s economic and political agenda by advocating for pro-business policies through the Rally on the Hill portion of the program. The event will take place at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., on May 21-23, 2012. For more information and important dates, check the Summit website,


Zenith Social Media Marketing Conference
May 23, 2012, Duluth, MN

The conference is designed for marketers, advertisers and public relations professionals looking to conquer the social media space, boost online engagement, increase social market share and avoid wasteful social media campaigns. The three track levels include the introductory-level Boot Camp Track, intermediate-level Channels Track and the Advanced Track for cutting-edge marketers. In addition, all attendees have the opportunity to learn from top-ranked attorney Jamie Nafziger, partner at Dorsey and Whitney, on how to navigate the tricky, unchartered waters of social during the Social Media & The Law Round Table.


8th Annual Kentucky Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference
June 1, 2012, Louisville, KY

The Annual Kentucky Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference (8th KIEC) will bring together distinguished speakers, tech-based economic development practitioners, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, students and postdoctoral fellows.

The conference will focus on growing local initiatives powered by science and engineering talent.


The Inc. Leadership Forum
June 6-8, 2012, Miami

The Inc. Leadership Forum brings together the knowledge and experience of industry experts, academics, seasoned entrepreneurs and fellow company leaders to share their methods on how to implement leadership strategies that help businesses flourish.

In 2012, the two-day event will immerse attendees in an energizing program with a series of keynote speakers, panel discussions and interactive networking sessions designed exclusively for the unique needs of entrepreneurial leaders. The Forum brings to life the content in Inc. magazine through thought-provoking programming that enables company owners to gain actionable, real-world information to hone their skills and lead their businesses on a path to growth. At Inc.’s Leadership Forum, you’ll learn about innovative approaches, inspirational tools and processes to build teams and workplace environments that have a lasting impact on financial results and personal satisfaction.


CT Business Expo
June 7, 2012, Hartford, CT

The 2012 CT Business Expo offers free educational seminars hosted by industry elite speakers and trainers. All of the educational seminars will be held in custom built classrooms on the show floor. Four educational tracks include Sales, Marketing, Technology and Management.


2012 Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium
June 11-14, 2012, Reno, NV

Designed by Veteran small business owners for Veteran small business owners, VETS2012 brings government agencies, industry leaders and Veteran entrepreneurs together in a small, intimate forum to discuss the questions you need answered.


TechWeek Conference Chicago 2012
June 22-26, 2012, Chicago

Connect to mobile innovations, new advertising technologies, emerging social media practices, and new apps for managing your business and life. Techweek is the largest technology and innovation conference and expo to put the entire digital ecosytem on stage — in Chicago, an up-and-coming global destination for new technology, with a community eager to harness the spirit of innovation.


National Veteran Small Business Conference & Expo
June 26-29, 2012, Detroit

The Department of Veterans Affairs is hosting the National Veteran Small Business Conference and Expo. As the largest nationwide conference of its kind, this event focuses on helping Veteran-owned businesses maximize opportunities in the federal marketplace. Join nearly 6,000 participants in Detroit for the opportunity to:
Connect with procurement decision makers from other businesses and federal agencies
Expand knowledge through over 200 training and business requirement sessions
Engage with other attendees and gain visibility in the Expo Hall of nearly 500 booths
Use VetGovPartner to facilitate online and onsite networking including face-to-face sessions with senior procurement decision makers


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.


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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1 Comment ▼

Laura Leites Laura Leites plans and manages events for clients through her company, L2 Event Production. Laura's projects include the Small Business Influencer Awards, The Small Business Summit, and many of SmallBizTechnology's live and virtual events, including the five-city Small Business Technology Tour.

One Reaction
  1. Always good to get a list of these events to mark my calendar for 2012, Laura now I am just waiting for the next list for 2013 to arrive so that I can start organizing my calendar for next year. Then I can kill two birds with one stone and plan my business trips around different networking events and conferences. Thanks as always for gathering all the info!