Events for Entrepreneurs and SMBs

Welcome to our biweekly roundup of small business events, conferences and webinars, brought to you as a community service by Small Business Trends and


Trade Nassau
April 12, 2011, Woodbury, NY

Trade Nassau will bring together premier businesses from Long Island and the greater New York metro region. Exhibitors and attendees will have the opportunity to connect and network with entrepreneurs as well as local, regional and national corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, business advocacy groups and media.

  • Meet and explore business opportunities with Long Island’s business elite
  • Meet hundreds of exhibitors and over 1,500 key decision makers
  • Attend business seminars and panel discussions to learn about best business practices from experts


Specialty Retail Entrepreneur Expo & Conference
April 12-14, 2011, Las Vegas

SPREE is the world’s largest event for the $12 billion cart and kiosk industry. Whether you are a retailer, specialty leasing manager or prospective entrepreneur looking for the newest concepts, locations or services to start or grow your specialty retail business, or an exhibitor seeking new sales opportunities, SPREE is designed with you in mind!


Improve Your Social Media Plan: Teleseminar for Postling Users
April 13, 2011, Online

Postling is teaming up with Sydni Craig-Hart of Smart Simple Marketing to provide a free, 30-minute teleseminar to help our users create a simple but effective social media plan. You’ll learn to:

  • Select the right platform(s) for your business
  • Keep your followers interested by diversifying your updates across your profiles
  • Simple strategies for effectively managing the time you spend using social media
  • Use a weekly outline to strategically and consistently be present for your followers
  • Simplify your social media strategy using a central dashboard
  • Set up tracking tools so you can see who is talking about you, and more


Bloomberg Empowered Entrepreneur Summit
April 14, 2011, New York City

The Bloomberg Empowered Entrepreneur Summit: Building the Next Billion Dollar Business will bring together the most innovative entrepreneurs with other entrepreneurs, investors and potential business partners for an afternoon of discussions about starting, financing and growing your business.


Give Me 5: How to Self-Certify for the WOSB Federal Contract Program
April 14, 2011, Online

This session will provide further details on eligibility requirements and contract set-asides, and the step-by-step requirements for certification, including:

  • WOSB and EDWOSB certification requirements
  • Submitting documents to the SBA’s WOSB Program Repository
  • Update on third-party certifications

This educational webinar is part of the Give Me 5 program, a national program created by American Express OPEN and WIPP to help women business owners get a leg up on selling to the world’s largest customer: the U.S. government.


Entrepreneurs Conference for Women
April 14, 2011, Elgin, IL

Elgin Community College and the Illinois Small Business Development Center present Entrepreneurs Conference for Women. The event is being held at ECC’s main campus in the University and Business Center. Luncheon speaker is Kim Gilmore of Gilmore Marketing Concepts. The full-day event includes networking and a vendor expo.


How I Built It
Thursday, April 14 – Boston
Monday, May 23 – Washington, DC/America’s Small Business Summit
Thursday, June 9 – Austin, TX
Thursday, September 15 – Chicago
Wednesday October 5 – New York City/World Business Forum

Join Wall Street Journal Small Business Editor Colleen DeBaise as she moderates an esteemed panel of top entrepreneurs for dynamic discussions in your area. Gain firsthand wisdom from these entrepreneurial gurus as they delve into their journeys of launching successful businesses.


Using Content and Creativity to Grow Your Business
Taste of Technology Small Business Series
April 20, 2011, New York City

Brought to you by, Taste of Technology is a fresh series of educational events to help entrepreneurs and small and growing businesses learn how to leverage the latest technologies as tools to grow their business. Network. Learn. Have fun.

It’s no longer enough to sell, sell, sell to attract new customers and passively wait for current customers to buy. Companies must work harder to attract customers and keep the ones they have. Taste of Technology will explore how smart, growing businesses are using content (social media, video, websites), all-out customer service and creativity (not luck) to grow their businesses.

Speakers: Jon Gelberg, Blue Fountain Media; Arthur Germain, Communication Strategy Group; Dan Nanian, Comedian/Actor/Voiceover Artist/Computer Expert; Derrick Guest, Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services


The Women in Business Conference
April 21, 2011, Colorado Springs, CO

This full-day conference will feature a breakfast, lunch and breakout sessions. The breakfast keynote speaker will be Kelli Vrla with “Put on Your Big Girl Panties and Ride Cowgirl.” The breakout sessions will feature Dr. Dianne Stone, Carolyn Strauss, Chuck Kocher and Kathy Hagan Brown.

At the luncheon, keynote speaker Roxanne Emmerich will bring you “Thank God It’s Monday.” The Athena Award Ceremony will take place during the luncheon. The event will include all kinds of information a woman entrepreneur (or any business owner) needs to succeed in business. You will hear from successful businesswomen who made it and are willing to share how with all of you.


Morgan Entrepreneurship Series at the Hudson Library
Multiple dates, Hudson, OH

Thursday, April 21, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
Baiju Shah, president, CEO and founder of BioEnterprise in Cleveland, an initiative that aids the formation, recruitment and acceleration of health-care companies

Entrepreneur Success Stories
Wednesday, May 4, 2011, at 7:00 p.m.
Entrepreneur success stories will feature a panel of successful Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs who are living the dream of running their own businesses.


Online Marketing & Social Media Crash Course
Multiple Cities & Dates

Discover how you can harness the power of the Internet to get your business found online (in an affordable way), engage new customers with your brand and keep old ones coming back. Deluxe for Business and Sprint are proudly sponsoring these free small business events across six cities in 2011, with the help of host Entrepreneur EXPO and keynote speaker Starr Hall.

April 21 – Houston
May 11 – Chicago
June 15 – Atlanta
July 14 – New York City
August 16 – Los Angeles
September 13 – Miami


Small Business Works: Tools for Small Business – 2011 and Beyond
April 28, 2011, Pittsburgh

Starting a small business or growing your small business? Looking for all the right resources?
Attend the Small Business Works event in Pittsburgh and hear guest speakers, find out about financial options and consult with exhibitors who can help your business be successful! Event partners: Allegheny County, The City of Pittsburgh, Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center from Duquesne and Building Bridges for Business.


Thrive & Kick It Into Overdrive: Business Solutions That Work Conference
April 29, 2011, Cerritos, CA

THRIVE offers 18 unique educational breakout sessions, keynote speaker, networking, and a resource marketplace … a truly distinctive learning environment that can take your existing business to the next level.


Empowering Women in Agriculture and Small Business
April 29, 2011, Nashville, TN

This conference seeks to educate and empower women, enabling them to return to their businesses, communities and families with new confidence, ideas and techniques to help them better manage finances, communication, marketing, time and stress. The event will also focus on current issues facing agriculture and how to get more involved at the local, state and federal levels to encourage positive outcomes for the industry.

This conference is a joint effort of the planning committee members from University of Tennessee Extension – Agriculture, Family & Consumer Sciences, Tennessee Farm Bureau, Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Beef Industry Council.


Extreme Business Makeovers
April 29-May 1, 2011, Orlando, FL

This dynamic and transformational “Connectinar” features top-caliber small business thought leaders as well as like-minded, “intentional entrepreneurs” for you to network and form strategic relationships with.

Speakers include such powerhouses as Joel Comm, Frank McKinney and Scott Ginsberg who will teach you how to…
1) Uncover your hidden assets
2) Overcome your challenges
3) Create your action plan to bring you to the next level


BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media
May 4, 2011 – Washington, DC

This event is all about how big brands use social media. No agencies, no startups — just big companies sharing what they’ve learned and providing practical, how-to advice on creating great content, earning management buy-in, training employees, engaging fans and keeping everything ethical and legal.


12th Annual U.S. Department of Energy Small Business Conference & Expo
May 10-12, 2011, Kansas City, MO

This event will feature plenaries, educational workshops, an Exhibit Hall with over 200 exhibitors/sponsors, as well as business matchmaking sessions. Over 1,600 attendees will represent all levels of federal, state and local government agencies, the small business community, large/prime contractors, minority educational institutions and many more.

The largest civilian contracting agency within the federal government, DOE spent over $25 billion in contracts in FY 2010. The 12th Annual DOE Small Business Conference & Expo is a great opportunity for small business owners, large companies and universities alike to network and partner.


The Receivables Exchange Cash Flow Forum
May 11, 2011, Los Angeles
May 12, 2011, San Francisco

For one day only, a panel of experts and business owners will discuss strategies for managing working capital in the changing economy, and share tips you can use to accelerate your business growth.

The new credit reality requires new strategies for growing businesses. At this one-time event, hear from experts and business owners who have survived – and thrived – in a tight credit market, and learn how they did it.


unGeeked Elite
unGeeked EliteMay 12 -14, 2011, Chicago

unGeeked Elite three-day Retreat’s unique format:

* No keynote speakers: unGeeked levels the playing field by presenting you with an influential list of international, national and regionally recognized consultants and authors.
* No Presenters: unGeeked is where you participate in open discussions with “discussion leaders” regarding leveraging your corporate and personal brand.
* Fewer Powerpoints or Prezi’s: Really? We don’t like them. However, if the speaker needs to use one of these tools, they are limited to only five slides.
* More speaker and attendee interaction: We’re changing what to expect from a seminar or conference.

Limited to 125 participants. Note: Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends, will be speaking at this event.


BizTech [Mobile Apps]
May 12, 2011, San Francisco

Discover the coolest and latest mobile apps. Connect with everyone who cares about the mobile industry and learn what’s going on in the mobile technology world today.

Additional upcoming event:
BizTech [Event Technology] – July 12, 2011


Birmingham Business Alliance Small Business Summit and Expo
May 17, 2011, Birmingham, AL

The event will kick off with a breakfast and keynote speech from Kevin Schmeigel, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, followed by the announcement of three Recognition Award winners. Then attendees will enjoy morning breakout sessions, a roundtable boxed lunch and afternoon breakout sessions. The day’s events will wrap up with a “Wine’d Down” reception.


Mahoning Valley Small Business Conference & Expo 2011
May 18, 2011, Youngstown, OH

Created for both the novice and the experienced small business owner, the Mahoning Valley Small Business Conference & Expo 2011 will cover the latest trends in small business assistance and minority and women business owners. Any small business owner and entrepreneur, whether just starting to write his or her business plan or very experienced, would benefit from the instructional workshops. Certified small business, MBE, DBE and EDGE businesses will have the opportunity to meet buyers from companies committed to increasing their supplier diversity.


America’s Small Business Summit 2011
May 23-25, 2011, Washington, DC

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. 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. Register before April 1st for early bird pricing.


The Art of Angel Investing: What Investors Look for, and Look Out for, When Investing in Startups
May 24, 2011, New York City

This event is a must-attend for anyone interested in learning more about pitching business ideas, venture capital/angel investing and starting their own business. And for those who are Fordham students or alumni, come cheer on your peers in the final round of the Fordham Business Plan Competition!


New England XPO for Business
May 25, 2011, Boston

Connect, collaborate and communicate with over 10,000 business owners and professionals from across New England at the 3rd Annual New England XPO for Business. This event is the largest and most profitable B2B networking conference in the Northeast, featuring 36+ educational seminars and over 300 exhibits packed with hundreds of business products and services.


Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers Procurement Conference
June 2, 2011, Warrensburg, MO

More than 1,200 government agencies and prime contractors have been invited to discuss their contracting opportunities with interested businesses. Exhibitors interested in showcasing their products and services at the conference’s trade show should call (573) 882-8058 to reserve an exhibition booth.

The conference is sponsored by Missouri’s senior Sen. McCaskill, MO PTAC, the Missouri Small Business and Technology Development Centers, and the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and Development at the University of Central Missouri.


12th Annual Enterprise Council on Small Business Summit
June 6-8, 2011, New Orleans

This year’s ECSB Summit will examine the “silent majority” of satisfied small business customers whose positive experiences don’t translate into vocal endorsements. By identifying these potential advocates, studying what motivates them to communicate to others, and mapping the networks where referrals occur, participants will uncover the best practices needed to drive active advocacy among small business customers.


Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition
June 14-17, San Diego

This year’s event theme is “E-Commerce Shifts Into Overdrive—the Race Is On,” and the event is specifically designed to give e-retailers practical information they need to compete in today’s faster-paced e-commerce market. The speaker roster for the 2011 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition represents the largest group of expert speakers ever assembled in online retailing, including: Christopher Payne, VP & GM, North American Marketplaces, eBay; Arianna Huffington; Sona Chawla, President, E-Commerce, Walgreen Co. and more.


Inc. Leadership Conference
June 15-17, 2011, Dallas

The event begins June 15 with a pre-conference reception. The next morning opens on the main stage with a presentation revealing the tangible tools for creating competitive cultures. The day culminates with an awards dinner recognizing this year’s Winning Workplaces honorees — leaders recognized for having created exceptional companies. The final day of the conference will offer additional main stage presentations and more intimate sessions with opportunities for greater networking and education.


140 Characters Conference
June 15-16, 2011, New York City

This event is expected to be the largest worldwide gathering of people interested in the effects of the real-time Internet on both business and “we” the people. It seems like everyone is talking about Facebook and Twitter, but so what? Why do they really matter?

#140conf exposes you to the power the Internet has to disrupt businesses, change lives and create serendipity. You will leave with a fresh outlook on how the real-time Web can be used in your business or personal life to actually do something meaningful.


Vertical Response 2011 Take Action User Seminar Series
Multiple Cities & Dates

June 23, 2011 – Chicago
September 30, 2011 – Denver

The Vertical Response 2011 Take Action User Seminar is designed to educate you about email marketing in the age of social media. Complement your attendance with a one-on-one email consultation and get the chance to take what you learn and immediately put it into action! Join’s Ramon Ray in New York City and get $10 off early bird registration at this link.


2011 Creative Freelancer Conference
June 23-24, 2011, Chicago

The Creative Freelancer Conference, presented by HOW magazine and Marketing Mentor, is the only business conference for creative solopreneurs, from designers and writers to illustrators and photographers. Whether you’re a veteran or just starting out, you’ll get the specific tools you need to launch, build and grow a successful freelance business. You’ll also get plenty of time to connect with, learn from and share solutions with your fellow freelancers.
Register by the early bird deadline of April 1 and save $30!


Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium
June 27-30, Reno, NV

Do you run a veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned small business (VOSB/SDVOSB) and want to work with the government? Or do you want to team with a veteran-owned company but aren’t sure how? The National Veterans Small Business Coalition has created the Veteran Entrepreneur Training Symposium (VETS) to help you accomplish your small business goals.

Unlike other small business conferences, VETS connects thriving veteran business owners with emerging veteran entrepreneurs to expose the knowledge needed to acquire government contracts and teaming opportunities. While attending, also expect to network with government agencies, large companies, and potential clients and customers.


FAA Small Business Opportunities Training Conference and Trade Show
June 28-July 1, 2011, Oklahoma City, OK

The FAA will host its Annual National Small Business Procurement Opportunities Training Conference and Trade Show on June 28 – July 1, 2010. The conference provides a forum for small businesses (including service-disabled and veteran-owned small businesses and 8[a] certified firms) to participate in technical and procurement opportunities workshops. Sessions will link small businesses with program managers, address business issues and concerns, and provide information that will benefit small businesses seeking to do business with the agency.


National Veteran Small Business Conference
August 15-18, 2011, New Orleans

The Department of Veterans Affairs is hosting this event. The largest nationwide conference of its kind, the National Veteran Small Business Conference provides veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs and SDVOSBs) an opportunity to learn, network and market their businesses.

4,000 leaders from various VOSBs, SDVOSBs, large contractors and federal agencies as well as veterans from the New Orleans area are expected to participate. This year’s event is composed of three venues: Small Business Conference, Exhibit Hall and VA Open House.  Veterans from both the conference and local community are invited to learn and experience the wide range of resources available to the veteran community.


NAWBO Women’s Business Conference 2011
August 31 – September 1, 2011, San Diego

The NAWBO Women’s Business Conference is the only event of its kind focused on connecting women entrepreneurs to real business opportunities that deliver bottom-line results. The conference brings together businesses of all sizes from various industries to provide women entrepreneurs with both personal and professional tools and resources to take their businesses to the next level of success.


Affiliate Summit East 2011
August 21-23, 2011, New York City

Affiliate Summit East 2011, the premier affiliate marketing conference, is taking place August 21-23, 2011, in New York City. This three-day conference includes an exhibit hall with affiliate merchants, vendors and networks, and multiple tracks of educational sessions covering the latest trends and information from affiliate marketing experts.


25th Anniversary Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference, Women’s Business & Buyers Mart
September 14, 2011, Chicago

The oldest conference and business opportunities fair for women in business in the country, this is the premier event for women business owners in the Midwest. In addition, this year’s conference will kick off with a celebration of our milestone anniversary on the evening of September 13th.

This year’s conference offers women business owners solutions to the current problems they are facing and the opportunity to increase the profitability of their businesses by building relationships with corporate and government buyers, business experts and other women business owners.


The New York Enterprise Report Small Business Awards
September 21, 2011, 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. In its sixth year, the Awards Gala–which sold out in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010–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.


Inc. 500/5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony
September 22-24, 2011, National Harbor, MD

The Inc. 500 | 5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony celebrates the revered Inc. ranking of the fastest-growing privately held companies in America. The momentous event brings together current Inc. 5000 honorees and alumni of the list, along with the greater business community, to recognize the remarkable achievements of these companies and the great contributions they have made to the global economy.


The Summit for Women in Business
October 6-9, 2011, Pigeon Forge, TN

The Summit For Women in Business is providing and showing you how to implement the needed strategies and tools to remain competitive and current within today’s evolving business climate. Created by women business owners for women business owners, this Summit is designed for SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) entrepreneurs, independent and self-employed professionals.


Western Mass Business Expo
October 18, 2011, Springfield, MA

As the region’s business publication, The Business Journal of Western Massachusetts believes the businesses and communities that comprise Western Massachusetts should be represented at a region-wide trade show to better promote buying and doing business locally. The day begins with breakfast at 7:30 followed by the Expo’s official opening at 9 a.m. and will feature seminars, speakers, lunch and a high-energy, end-of-day networking event featuring music, food and drink.


To find more small business events, contests and awards, visit our Small Business Events Calendar.

If you are putting on a small business contest, award or competition, and want to get the word out to the community, please submit it through our Events & Contests Submission Form. (We do not charge a fee to be included in this listing — it is completely free to list your event.) Only events of interest to small business people, freelancers and entrepreneurs will be considered and included.

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.