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It’s been a few weeks now, and I have to admit that I’ve got the post-America’s Small Business Summit blues.
I walk around the office stopping at co-workers’ desks expecting them to tell me about their amazing products and offering me free, branded swag—perhaps a pair of orange Converse, which CareerBuilder handed out, or a Small Business Saturday tote bag, courtesy of the nice American Express people.
I keep hanging out in conference rooms waiting for my chosen breakout session to begin. Wait. … Where is everyone? Maybe they’re at one of the other breakout sessions? Probably at the one on accessing alternative capital. Perhaps I should go find out.
And … just where is the afternoon ice-cream station?
From June 11 to 13, more than 800 small business owners and chamber and association executives came together in Washington, D.C., to network, learn, and bring the collective voice of business to Congress. And eat ice cream.
Small businesses are embracing technology. This year’s summit broke all previous social media engagement records. There were more than 1,900 tweets from 770 contributors (using the summit hashtags #ASBS and #IAmSmallBiz), as well as broad engagement on Facebook and Instagram.
Young Entrepreneurs Academy’s sixth annual Saunders Scholars Competition. This year’s YEA winners were high school juniors Riley Benner and Luke Zaremski, who created Phoenix Haberdashery, a line of reversible neckties. The Rochester, New York, duo was awarded college scholarship money, a business reward package, and an opportunity to audition for ABC’s hit show Shark Tank.
1776. “Innovation isn’t about the success; it’s about the 99% of the failures it took to get to that success,” said Ben Huh of the monstrously popular humor website Cheezburger.
Chesapeake Bay Candle became a worldwide phenomenon, company co-founder Mei Xu struggled to figure out what home décor product she and her husband and business partner wanted to sell. In 1994, they set up a booth at the Charlotte Gift Fair in North Carolina with five to six products, including silk trees, car seat covers, and candles. “Maybe it was because it was September and people were looking for holiday gifts, but the candles sold better than the others. From that point on, we were focused.”
The Cook Political Report explained his choices in beverages. “Coors Light was the first beer company that subscribed. Of course, I’m going to buy their beer!”
Enterprising States study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF). The study was released at the summit, where Govs. Pat McCrory (NC) and Gary Herbert (UT) discussed the skills gap and what states are doing to address it. “This country’s skills gap is one of the most consequential public policy challenges we face right now,” said USCCF President and former Gov. John McKernan Jr (ME). “It holds back our economy when employers can’t find workers with the skills they need to run their businesses. Altogether, it threatens our growth and competiveness.”