Inaugural business partnership exposition a success
About 60 people attended the inaugural Connect for Success: Small Business Expo held Oct. 16 at Cam Clark Ford during Small Business Week.
“We were so pleased with the turnout at the event,” said Mike De Bokx, president of Airdrie Business Resource Partnership (ABRP), responsible for organizing the event. “Not only was it a great way to showcase the resources available in Airdrie, it was a fantastic celebration of Small Business Week.”
The event included a Resource Expo with 12 exhibitors from Airdrie business resource organizations and local professional firms offering information for attendees, including a number of established business people and those considering becoming entrepreneurs.
The event also included the Sharing Local Successes Roundtables, during which Airdrie business owners shared their secrets of success. Thirty-five people attended the roundtable discussion.
Presenters included The Avenue Cakery and Bakeshoppe, TRAK Kayaks, Airdrie Yoga and Fitness, Goodmen Roofing, Natural e Green, Zebra Account and Tax and Airdrie 360.
“This event was an opportunity for businesses to ask, to learn and to share,” said De Bokx. “You could feel a great energy in the room as presenters, exhibitors and attendees interacted.”
Tamara Laschinsky of Natural e Green said she enjoyed presenting with Joan Bell of Airdrie Yoga and Fitness.
Laschinsky, who owns a successful home-based business that ships natural products worldwide, said her presentation focused on the necessity of getting to know your customer.
“You have to establish trust,” she said, adding that has been made more difficult as a good portion of her business comes from online sales.
“We have had to go above and beyond to create that trust. We have a big focus on customer service.”
Laschinsky, who started her business in 2009, said she was pleased with the event.
“I thought it was wonderful,” she said. “It was a decent turnout… it was good seeing the people there.”
The event was also the launch of the Ask an Airdrie Expert Program, sponsored by Airdrie Economic Development. The program gives attendees the chance to have a free 20-minute consultation with a local expert in the fields of commercial real estate, accounting, finance and law. More than 20 businesspeople took advantage of the opportunity.
“We were happy with the turnout and the feedback we got from participants was extremely positive,” said Sara Chamberlain, Airdrie economic development officer. “We do anticipate doing this again next year. We thought it was a really great way to celebrate small business week.”
According to Chamberlain, the ABRP, made up of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Centre West and Airdrie’s economic development department, held events almost every day of small business week, Oct. 14 to 20.
“Small business this year was amazing,” she said. “We had something going on almost every day of the week with participation from many of our businesses.”
Chamberlain added the ABRP hosts a minimum of two events or learning opportunities each month.
The City’s economic development department’s next event will be a business breakfast and economic update with guest speaker Todd Hirsch, Alberta economist, author and speaker. The event will held Nov. 28. For more information, visit www.airdrie.ca/airdrienow
Chamberlain said the City is dedicated to supporting small business in Airdrie.
“We are well aware that small business is the backbone of our economy and our community,” she said. “Eighty per cent of business growth comes from within the community.”