Local, national events linked to Small Business Week

Celebrating its golden anniversary this year, National Small Business Week kicks off Monday to shine the spotlight on entrepreneurship and job creation.

Officially endorsed by every president since 1963, the week is designed to recognize the myriad contributions of the nation’s small business owners. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than 50 percent of Americans either own or work for small businesses — companies employing fewer than 500 workers — and each year small businesses account for two out of every three new jobs created.

For the first time, official National Small Business Week activities will be spread out across the country and this year five cities will host SBA-sanctioned programming. The events will be streamed live on the Internet, beginning in Seattle on Monday and continuing across each successive weekday with programming in Dallas, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and wrapping up on Friday with the National Small Business Week awards in Washington.

If you can’t travel to those cities for the programs, don’t worry because connectivity is as close as your computer or mobile device. Feel free to visit http://www.sba.gov/nsbw to participate online in the Google + hangouts with national small business experts.

Closer to home, actually right in Memphis, be sure to check out “Marketing in Memphis: A Speed Coaching Night” that will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Crosstown Collaborative, 430 N. Cleveland.

Sponsored by nonprofit Accion, which specializes in microloans, the event is aimed at entrepreneurs and small business owners and will pair them with experts in more than a half dozen fields, including branding and marketing, public relations and social media for small companies. The setup will include a networking period, then participants will have opportunities to get individual coaching during two 25-minute sessions.

In addition to the coaching, Accion representatives will be offering information on its funding programs. Founded in 1994, Accion has expanded its footprint and has been in Memphis since 2012. According to local market manager Nathanial Owen, the San Antonio-based nonprofit’s loans range from $500 to $250,000 and in most cases much of the process work may be completed online.

The speed coaching event is free, but space is limited and registration is requested. To learn more, visit www.marketinginmemphis.eventbrite.com.

On Wednesday, Black Girls Code promotes its new Memphis chapter during a reception from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar. The event will offer information about upcoming programs and workshops designed to encourage more minority female participation in careers related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

There’s no charge to attend, but registration is requested. For more information, contact Meka Egwuekwe at meka@lokion.com or 901-484-4203.

First up on Thursday, members of Business Over Coffee International will meet from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Ridgeway Business Center, 5865 Ridgeway Center Pkwy., Suite 300. Keynote presenter will be author and consultant William Mott. The program is free for members and first-time guests, $10 for others. Find out more at www.businessovercoffee.com.

At midday on Thursday, check out the monthly meeting of the Sales and Marketing Society of the Mid-South, held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Racquet Club of Memphis, 5111 Sanderlin. Keynote speaker will be Bob Wilson, executive vice president at the Kemmons Wilson Companies.

Admission, which includes lunch, is free for SMS members, $25 for guests who prepay online and $30 at the door. To save your spot, visit www.sms-midsouth.org.

And finish your workweek by celebrating some of the best local minority small businesses — along with their supporters — at the annual BENNY Awards,  11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday at the Memphis Marriott, 2625 Thousand Oaks Blvd. Featured speaker will be Ron Busby of the U.S. Black Chamber.

Admission is $50 and includes lunch, but registration is required. For reservations, visit bbamemphis.com.

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