On March 19th, 2010, Project Enterprise closed out a week of networking and informative workshops for small business owners from all over New York City. The week-long series of events saw a large turnout to hear informed business professionals and successful entrepreneurs speak about their successes and offer tips and techniques to encourage business growth. This year’s theme, “Managing Your Business in the Digital Age,” focused on helping entrepreneurs manage and market their business using software and online tools, social media, and creative partnerships.
The week began at NYU’s Wasserman Center with the headlining speaker, Steve Stoute. Steve is the Founder and CEO of Translation LLC, and the mastermind behind innovative promotions between Fortune 500 companies and superstar celebrities in music sports, fashion, and entertainment including Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, and many others. Steve gave an inspiring message about his past experiences of being on the cutting edge of technology and the advantages that it can give entrepreneurs. Steve also talked about how entrepreneurs should always be looking for the next opportunity to grow their businesses. “Things just don’t happen by accident,” Steve said. “Everything has a reason and as an entrepreneur, it is your job to find out and capitalize on that (thing).”
A panel discussion at NYU Stern School of Business’s Berkley Center was the go-to event on Tuesday for anyone interested in using social media to further engage consumers. The panel was moderated by PE member, Fritz Desirfluency, a digital brand consultancy, and an adjunct professor at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Panelists included who is also the CEO of Eric Hamilton of The Web Academy and author of “Social Media Branding in the Age of Obama”; Maisha Walker of message medium; Gary Coichy of The OBM Group; and Angie Hancock of Experience Harlem. The discussion focused on what are the most important social media for small businesses and tools to make social media management more efficient. “Small business owners need to focus their resources to at most three social media sites,” said Maisha Walker citing LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as the top three sites for small businesses. Eric Hamilton added that small businesses should be, “analyzing the effectiveness of their websites,” to measure if they are truly achieving their goals.
Wednesday night featured two events geared at helping entrepreneurs strengthen and grow their businesses. The first event for Spanish speaking members featured moderator, Neyda Martinez, of Monserrat, Ltd, along with panelists Deyanira Del Rio of NEDAP; J.M. De Jesus of the Brooklyn Small Business Development Center; and Gaby Rojas of Wow Kids Party. Spanish speaking entrepreneurs learned how to do business American style by marketing, technology, and credit building. Wednesday also featured a Speed Consulting event in partnership with Columbia University’s Black Business Students Association. The invite-only event allowed entrepreneurs to meet with business consultants who specialized in sales & marketing, technology & operations, and finance & budgeting.
TD Bank sponsored the final workshop of the week on Thursday, as entrepreneurs learned about the more technical side of business management. Guest speakers included Frank Celentano, of TD Bank; PE Member, George Williams, of Ujamaa Communications; and Steve Messere, of Revenue Spark, Inc. Vanessa Wakeman, of The Wakeman Agency, also joined as the discussion moderator. The networking event titled, “The New Basics: 21st Century Business Management”, provided seasoned and aspiring entrepreneurs insight on software and online tools and applications that can help manage small businesses more efficiently. While all of the panelists agreed with the moderator, Vanessa Wakeman, that one tool that most small businesses cannot live without was a CRM (customer relationship management) system, others discussed additional products that entrepreneurs could use. “As a small business owner, you have to be available to your customers,” said George Williams who uses voice-over IP in his business. Frank Celentano added “online banking could make payroll more efficient,” and Steve Messere, a Google Power-User, discussed the variety of Google products that have helped him in his business, including Google Docs and Google Calendar features. From Google tools to online banking and plenty in between, entrepreneurs left armed with knowledge and resources to help them implement strategies for their businesses.
Each year, Project Enterprise hosts Entrepreneur Week, a week-long series of events that focuses on entrepreneurship awareness. The week is centralized around one theme, under which there are numerous events open to PE’s entrepreneurs and the general public. This year’s Entrepreneur Week marked the seventh annual week and was sponsored in part by TD Bank.
Photo (l to r): Mel Washington, Executive Director of Project Enterprise; Steve Messere, CEO of Revenue Spark, Inc.; Vanessa Wakeman, CEO of The Wakeman Agency; George Williams, CEO of Ujamaa Communications; Frank Celentano, Regional Vice President of TD Bank.
Project Enterprise, 144 W. 125th St., New York, NY 10027, P: 212.678.6734 ext. 13, F: 212.678.6737, Twitter: @Proj_Enterprise, Small Loans. BIG CONNECTIONS, http://www.projectenterprise.org/