Small Business Week Reminds Us What We’re All About

            This week I was thrilled to attend SBA’s National Small Business Week here in Washington, DC, where entrepreneurs from all over the country gathered to be recognized as top small businesses from their state.  These winners attended a number of interesting forums, luncheons and other events designed to highlight the many small businesses in attendance as well as provide them with additional tools and useful information. 


            My favorite?? The forum on Social Media where distinguished speakers from Google & Facebook (to name a few), encouraged small business owners to make use of the social networks on the internet to help support and grow their business.  It was an interesting discussion that compared those who are not yet “online” to cavemen in the stone age that remained opposed to fire once it was invented, despite the clear advantages of its use! Great analogy!


            There were many highlights of the conference, including Administrator Karen Mills’ Keynote address where she outlined her plan for the SBA during this administration.  Excitement was in the air as she described SBA’s new ARC loan program designed to bridge troubled times for struggling small businesses, as well as her plans for revitalizing the agency.  Another special event was the Phoenix Awards luncheon where small business owners, a government official and a quick thinking mom were honored for their incredible feats of volunteerism and community spirit during natural disasters in their areas. Their stories of heroism and devotion to their community were very moving and inspiring.


            Of course most, if not all, of the winners would say the highlight for them was meeting President Obama in the East Room of the White House!!  Unfortunately I was not able to attend this part of the conference, but when the buses returned from the White House, happy small business winners from all over the country poured off the buses with big grins on their faces and full memory cards in their cameras.


            Small Business Week ended with a National Awards Dinner honoring the state small business winners.  Excitement & anticipation were in the air as the National Small Business Person of the Year was finally announced at the end of the evening. Jeanna Sellmeyer from Oklahoma received hugs from her family and friends as she rose to receive her award from Administrator Mills.  Her story and her struggle to grow her business, despite challenging times both personally and professionally, had the crowd on their feet as she crossed the stage.  What a great night & an exciting culmination to a very successful Small Business Week.



— Claudia Rogers, Assistant Advocate