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Small Businesses Unite at 'Building Bridges' Event

By Titus Falodun Staff Writer | 6/7/2013, 9:43 a.m.
Metro Atlanta newest place-to-be, the Hotel Indigo, was the ideal spot to host an array of local entrepreneurs for a ...
Terri Dennison (Georgia Regional District Director of SBA), Cier Black (CEO of Cier Black PR), and College Park Mayor Jack Longino.

College Park, Ga.— Metro Atlanta newest place-to-be, the Hotel Indigo, was the ideal spot to host an array of local entrepreneurs for a “show and tell” symposium entitled “Building Bridges for Small Business”. The event, co-sponsored by The Atlanta Voice and Cier B. Public Relations, treated small business owners to demonstrations on how to expand their brands.

“I don’t consider it a networking event, because I am always going to bring to them [small business owners] someone that affects their bottom-line,” said event hostess Cier Black. “The people I bring to them are necessities, not luxuries.”

Various business owners shared stories and insights on the importance of small businesses on the local and national levels.

“I believe that small businesses are the backbone of America,” College Park Mayor Jack Longino told the crowd.

According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses accounted for about 65 percent of new private-sector job creation between 1993-2009.

Black said that the community event was meant to attract small business owners and present them with the resources needed to travel from a startup to a profitable and viable organization.

“We’re talking foundation,” Black explained. “If your foundation is weak, you’re not able to build upon it.”

She encouraged the small business owners to seek education and assistance when it comes to establishing a firm public relations base.

“Small business owners have an advantage, but they are not reaching for it,” Black said. “People think they can do it all themselves and that is faulty thinking. There’s nothing we can do alone.”

Recently, Thumbtack.com and the Kauffman Foundation released their survey results stating that Atlanta earned an A- grade in being business friendly.

For upstart owners like Trina Newby of Womenaboutbiz.com that is a good sign. But it means nothing without taking advantage of it.

“We need to make sure we follow up after an event like this,” Newby said. “ We need to engage in conservation about how we can connect and help each other.”

Black reinforced that concept by selecting Hotel Indigo, which has only been in operations for about six months, as the site event.

“Hotel Indigo brings business to the small,” Chef Bedra Williams, food and beverage director at Hotel Indigo, said. “We patronize local vendors.”

By catering to and capturing the unique flavors and sights of College Park, Hotel Indigo stands out as an attractive spot located a few blocks from the airport.

“No two Indigos are alike [in the national chain],” Deondra Askew, the hotel’s sales manager said. “There are certain things that are going to be standard: hardwood floors, the customer service, the spotlight showers. But the décor is going to be different. It just makes the brand unique.”

To its credit, the new boutique hotel in College Park showed how it can be a gathering place for entrepreneurs.

Black was pleased by the turnout and felt the mission to expose small business operators to branding opportunities was accomplished.

“My mama always said, ‘If you really care about someone, you give them what they need, not what they want,’” Black concluded.