For its 50th anniversary, National Small Business Week is hitting the road.
The sitting U.S. president has set aside one week each year to recognize small-business owners since 1963. On Monday, June 17, that week kicks off in Seattle. National Small Business Week activities will take place in a different city each day: Tuesday in Dallas, Wednesday in St. Louis, Mo., Thursday in Pittsburgh and Friday in Washington, D.C.
“It occurred to us that the right way to reach more and more and more small businesses is to take us on the road,” says Karen Mills, the chief of the U.S. Small Business Association. The goal is to make more small businesses aware of SBA services, an issue that Mills has said ought to be her successor’s primary focus. In previous years, the week’s activities have all been in Washington.
Each city will host talks, panel discussions and mentorship opportunities. The events are free to attend but nearly all booked. In all, the National Small Business Week events will cost approximately $300,000, less than half of the $700,000 spent last year. Corporate sponsors cover the costs.
If you haven’t already secured a ticket, many events will be streamed live on the event’s web site. Also, there will be daily Google + hangouts at 4 p.m. Eastern. The schedule of events can be found here. Issues expected to be covered include:
- Growing your business by expanding it internationally.
- Securing government contracting projects.
- Strategies for improving your social media reach.
- Accessing capital for your business.
- What the Affordable Care Act will mean to your business.
- Improving the efficiency of your supply chain.
- How crowdsourcing can benefit your business.
A number of high-profile entrepreneurs are speaking at events throughout the week. Jack Dorsey, co-founder of mobile-payment company Square and microblogging social-media giant Twitter, will be speaking with Karen Mills at an event Thursday evening. National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback and entrepreneur Fran Tarkenton will speak on Friday morning, and Angie Hicks, the founder of consumer-review web site Angie’s List, will be a keynote speaker Friday.
The culmination of National Small Business Week is the announcement of the Small Business Person of the Year.