(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- They came with dreams and ideas. Most came with the intent to enhance their business operation with three key workshops and a message from a successful entrepreneur who has been in business for 19 years. On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, more than 150 business owners ventured to Florida Memorial University for Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan's Small Business Strategies Mini-Conference.
"I am an avid supporter of our Small Business Department (SBD), and I have consistently pushed SBD to reach out and certify as many small businesses as possible," said Commissioner Jordan. "As taxpayers of this county, they should be afforded the opportunity to bid on our contracts, and become a part of the economic recovery solution."
According to Commissioner Jordan, this mini-conference was her fifth effort to reach out to small businesses. She encouraged them to network, learn from testimonies and form partnerships. One business owner attended with the goal of building his brand online.
"I want to look at the social media component of my business," said Rod Stokes, owner of two Wingstop franchises in the City of Miami Gardens. "I am also looking for any available contracting opportunities."
Stokes has been in business for nine-and-a-half years. After graduating from Miami Carol City Senior High School, he did a stint in the Army for 12 years, and then returned home to form his first venture. He notes that his business savvy stems from his mother's entrepreneurial spirit.
Bill Diggs, president of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, has seen many business ventures launched as a result of family encouragement, hobbies or layoffs. Regardless of their motivation to start a business, Diggs and his staff are there to assist.
"We just returned from Washington, DC, where we met with Marie John, who oversees the Small Business Administration at the national level," said Diggs. "We took several of our more successful members who are testaments to the level of work being done in Miami-Dade County."
One business owner that accompanied Diggs to Washington, DC was Wayne Davis, president of In Touch Logistics, LLC, a trucking company that has been in business for 15 years. He was at the Small Business Strategies Mini-Conference to network with potential business partners.
"We're here seeking more opportunities through the County," said Davis whose company services 48 states throughout the U.S. "Yes, we want to network, and we also want to identify other contracts that will help our company grow."
Conference attendees participated in three workshops. They included: Social Media Staying Connected Will Increase Your Profits, Checks N' Balances: Getting Your Finances in Order and Contracting Opportunities: Getting the 4-1-1. The keynote speaker was Bernadette Morris, president and CEO of Sonshine Communication.
"This was a compact event that allowed current and future business owners to strategize growing their businesses," said Commissioner Jordan. "Entrepreneurs were here literally 'taking care of business'!"
Left: Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan addresses attendees of the Small Business Strategies Mini-Conference on Tuesday and encourages them to network and identify new business partners. Middle: Wayne Davis, president of In Touch Logistics, LLC and Bill Diggs, president of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, converse about business opportunities within the County. Right: Rod Stokes, president of two Wingstop locations in the City of Miami Gardens, sits attentively as Commissioner Jordan speaks to attendees.