Coinciding with National Small Business Week (May 5-11), the city of Vancouver and its partners will celebrate Small Business Month during the month of May with a variety of training and networking events and activities.
On May 13, the Vancouver City Council will officially proclaim the month of May as “Small Business Month” in Vancouver.
“Small Business Month is an opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners in Vancouver,” said Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, in a news release from the city. “With more than 95% of Vancouver’s businesses considered small businesses, not only is this community an essential part of Vancouver’s economic vitality, they help make our city a great place to live.”
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration website, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week for more than 50 years, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.
According to the website: “More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st Century jobs, drive innovation and increase America’s global competitiveness.”
Throughout the month of May, the city of Vancouver and its partners will host more thana dozen training and networking events to celebrate the important contributions that small businesses make to the community.
Andrea Pastor, associate economic development planner with the city of Vancouver, said the Small Business Month partners have met three times since the start of the year to plan for this year’s activities.
“The group decided that we would build on the success of the Library’s small business resource fair last year, and host two similar events where we could all come together in one location to have the greatest impact and reach to current and prospective small business owners,” Pastor said. “We wanted to offer two events – one in downtown at the Vancouver Community Library (May 29), and one on the east side at Clark College at Columbia Tech Center (May 23).”
Pastor said each partner organization has a number of events scheduled for the month of May. Some of these events include Fourth Plain Forward Happy Hour where people can meet other local business owners and residents; seminars on Tips for Writing Social Media Content for Your Business; Google & Instagram for Your Business; Attracting Customers to Your Website, and more. The full calendar of events and activities can be found at https://www.cityofvancouver.us/ced/page/may-small-business-month-vancouver.
“Some highlights are joint events put together by Fourth Plain Forward, the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and SCORE available both in English and Spanish that will help small business owners improve their online and social media presence,” Pastor said.
Pastor said that CVTV will also be working on developing two videos that will highlight local businesses during Small Business Month. She said Center Stage Clothiers and Fresh Fruit Heaven are two small businesses that have worked with the city’s business technical assistance provided by the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is another organization that will be participating in Small Business Month events during the month of May. Kathy Bazan, Washington SBDC business adviser at a local Vancouver office, will teach a class for Small Business Month on May 8 on the topic of writing great social media content. The class is free to attend.
“Founded in the late 1970s by an act of Congress, the Small Business Development Center is chartered to share with the American public the information which the Small Business Administration has gleaned on what makes a successful business,” Bazan said. “Counselors like me are trained to meet with clients to assess what the clients need (helping with accounting, learning about social media, gaining access to capital, etc.). Each of us who counsels has owned a small business and brings additional skill sets to our work.”
New this year is the Connect and Navigate Small Business Resource Fair that will provide a one-stop shop for current and prospective small business owners to network and connect with the resources they need. The same event will be hosted at two different locations to more equitably serve the entire city. The first one is set for Thursday, May 23, 4-7 p.m., at Clark College Economic & Community Development at Columbia Tech Center, 18700 SE Mill Plain Blvd., in Vancouver.
At this event, local entrepreneurs and business owners will find resources for every stage of their entrepreneurship adventure. Attendees will meet advisers, business counselors and learn about available business resources all in one place.
“Making up 95% of all businesses in the city, small businesses are at the very center of Vancouver’s economy,” said Abigail Herrera, marketing manager, Clark College Economic & Community Development. “Clark College Economic & Community Development is proud of the many small businesses and entrepreneurs that contribute job opportunities, services and conveniences to our community.”
Throughout the month of May, Herrera said Clark College will highlight continuing education classes targeted at small businesses and entrepreneurs, including their leadership training series, Data Analysis with Excel Pivots & Charts, Attracting Customers to Your Website and Effective Presentations to Motivate & Engage.
The second Connect and Navigate Small Business Resource Fair will be Wednesday, May 29, 4-7 p.m., at the Vancouver Community Library, 901 C St., in Vancouver. Both resource fairs are free to attend.
For more information on Small Business Month in Vancouver, visit www.cityofvancouver.us/couvesmallbiz.