For those who own their own small business or are thinking of starting one, the third annual Sampson County Small Business Summit will be the place to be Tuesday, Jan. 22 from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center.
“It’s a free event and we encourage everyone to come out to ensure that they know about all the local, state, and federal resources available,” says Janna Bass, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.
Numerous agencies and organizations will have booths set up at the event.
“The vendors provide various services to small businesses. They’re wide-ranging and there’s little overlap,” says John Swope, executive director of the Sampson County Economic Development Commission. “We’ve got a good group of vendors, and we’ve added to it this year. We’ve been able to attract the NC Institute for Minority Economic Development and the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development.”
Other vendors set to be at the event are the city of Clinton, the NC Rural Center, the town of Roseboro Revolving Loan Program, and the NC Military Business Center, to name a few.
Swope adds that eight of the vendors offer financial assistance to small businesses. “They provide loans, some for a few hundred dollars and others for up to millions of dollars.”
In addition to the vendors, there will also be a business financing forum from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. “Eight of the organizations will give brief descriptions of their programs and then people will be able to ask questions,” explains Swope. “It’ll be sort of like a roundtable discussion.”
There are also two break-out sessions on the agenda. One will focus on the “Most Common Mistakes that Undermine Small Business” and the other will be a presentation about the “NC Live Business Database Website.”
Based on past success, Swope assures citizens that attending the summit will be worth it. “We had the first small business summit back in January of 2011, and we took a survey after it to get a feel for what people thought. We were pleased that 96 percent of those surveyed would recommend others going to future summits. They obviously thought there was value in the event.”
“We’ve also had people go to the summit and then contact us later for additional assistance so there’s been follow up,” Swope adds. “It’s proven to be really helpful in the past.”
“We’re very excited about this year’s summit and want people to come out because it’s a great event full of good information, especially for businesses that are having difficulties or are looking for opportunities to grow,” shares Swope.
Organizing partners for the summit are Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Center at Sampson Community College, Sampson County Economic Development Commission, and NC Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program (NC LEAP).
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 123 or via email at email@example.com.