This past week in St. Louis, I joined other economic developers, business executives, elected officials and members of both regional and federal SBA teams to celebrate the 50th anniversary of National Small Business Week. Registration and attendance for the St. Louis event exceeded 700 individuals. While panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking opportunities filled most of the day, SBA Administrator, Karen Mills’ on stage interview with St. Louis business executive David Stewart was clearly the highlight. Stewart, founder and CEO of World Wide Technology, is today a $3.4B global giant. Stewart started his business with a SBA loan, and provided great advice, feedback and council to the audience during the Q&A.
I was very privileged to join a panel of economic development specialists exchanging views on today’s ecosystem for emerging entrepreneurs. Speaking from the perspective from my past life in news media, I encouraged the audience of small business owners to work as hard as they can to align themselves with great coaches, appropriate resources and forward thinking communities. I made a strong statement in support of the role start – ups and entrepreneurs will play as the USA rebuilds its national economy.
There was a tremendous spirit and loads of energy across all the breakout rooms and auditorium at historic Harris Stowe college that day. Ideas, passion, hard work and critical thinking carried the day!