BY DIANNE HAFLEIGH
Orlando, Fla. — More than 300 small business owners, professionals, and community leaders gathered for the ninth annual Small Business Leadership Conference June 26-28. Held in Orlando, the conference featured more than 40 speakers who discussed strategies and best practices for igniting strategic growth.
The event was co-hosted by the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, part of the Florida State University College of Business, and the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida.
Speakers shared their insights about how businesses and professionals can accelerate growth. Interactive discussions addressed marketing, organizational culture, international trade, cybersecurity, government contracting, and other growth-related issues.
The conference featured panelists Ken Lawson, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity; Jamal Sowell, president and chief executive officer of Enterprise Florida; Michelle Dennard, president and chief executive officer of CareerSource Florida; and Michael W. Myhre, chief executive officer of the Florida SBDC Network, who spoke on a panel on the state of small businesses. The panel was preceded by an economic outlook from Jerry Parrish, chief economist and director of research for the Florida Chamber Foundation.
The conference also featured keynotes by Pamela Starr, a Google-supported trainer; Nat Jones, chief financial officer of Limbitless Solutions; Mona Amodeo, founder of idgroup; and Ryo Zsun, culture maestro of Zappos.com.
The Jim Moran Institute has hosted a small business conference since 1997. Originally a one-day event, the conference was re-formatted to a multi-day experience in 2010 that included keynote speakers, breakout workshops, attendee competitions and more. Traditionally held in Ft. Lauderdale, the conference was relocated to Orlando in 2018 in order to reach more entrepreneurs and small businesses from around the state, serving as a precursor to this year’s partnership with the Florida SBDC Network. Together the organizations were able to identify key topics, relevant resources and the best speakers available in an effort to elevate the 2019 Small Business Leadership Conference to the premier statewide event for Florida entrepreneurs.
“Our partnership with the Florida SBDC Network brought an increased level of enthusiasm, energy and creativity to this year’s conference that translated to all of our speakers and content,” said Melissa Roberts, managing director of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship. “We’re proud to have given attendees the opportunity to connect with experts and like-minded professionals in an effort to help their small businesses reach sustainable growth.”
“At the Florida SBDC Network, our goal is to help small businesses grow and succeed,” said Michael W. Myhre, chief executive officer of the Florida SBDC Network. “Research shows that small businesses often lack access to professional expertise and resources often available to their large business counterparts. We were proud to partner with the Jim Moran Institute to host this important event to deliver the information and resources businesses and professionals need to find success.”
This year’s event sponsors were JPMorgan Chase, United Midwest Savings Bank, Baker Donelson, ComplyRight, Florida Capital Bank, Florida First Capital Finance Corporation, Hiscox, Nav, the National Development Council, Regions Bank, True Financial Freedom, Veterans Florida and media sponsors Florida Trend, and the Jacksonville, South Florida, Tampa Bay and Orlando Business Journals.
For information about the 2020 Small Business Leadership Conference, please visit SBLConference.com.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA SBDC NETWORK
For more than forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance (Fl. Stat. 288.001) has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and aspiring small- and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.
Since 2011, Florida SBDCs have provided 624,331 hours of professional business consulting to 58,975 client businesses, resulting in 281,831 jobs impacted; $36.7 billion in sales generated; $2.7 billion in government contracts acquired; $1.6 billion in capital accessed; and 4,520 new businesses started.
The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.
ABOUT THE JIM MORAN INSTITUTE
The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship cultivates, trains and inspires entrepreneurial leaders through world-class executive education, applied training, public recognition and leading-edge research.
Jim Moran was an automotive pioneer and an entrepreneur at heart, who at the age of seven, sold soda pop at sandlot baseball diamonds in Chicago. With a career that spanned more than six decades, he built an amazing chronicle of achievements in the automobile industry.
His vision for Jim Moran Institute was to provide opportunities that would help others become more successful business owners. A 1995 contribution from Jim and Jan Moran and JM Family Enterprises established the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship in the Florida State University College of Business. Since 2011, further enhancements to the Jim Moran Institute and its outreach have been made possible by Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation.
For more information, visit jmi.fsu.edu
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