New Business Event Proves Valuable For Local Small Business Owners And Job Seekers

The Connections for Success: Small Business and Job Seeker Summit brings together small business owners, government agencies, and job seekers—plus some inspiration from a rags-to-riches success story.

From securing contract opportunities with local companies to doing business with county government entities, creating a winning business plan, and certifying as a minority or woman-owned business enterprise, there was plenty of valuable information flowing at Tuesday’s inaugural Connections for Success: Small Business and Job Seeker Summit. 

The all-day event, which was held at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, was sponsored by the Office of County Executive Robert P. Astorino and the Westchester County African-American Advisory Board, in partnership with The Business Council of Westchester. The summit was aimed at helping business owners learn how to gain access to the “3 C’s” that can make their business a success: customers, capital and contracts; and to give job seekers the inside track on available opportunities within the county.

The roughly 200 attendees—which included small business owners, sole proprietors, job seekers, and would-be entrepreneurs, as well as County commissioners, nonprofit leaders, and representatives from local corporate giants like MasterCard and ConEd—had the chance to mingle and network, listen to experts during breakout sessions, and attend an exhibitor mall featuring dozens of business-support services and resources.

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Various panel discussions helped business owners learn how to network and market on a small business budget; connect to contract opportunities and submit a bid; secure funding from unexpected sources; create a roadmap for business success; use free media to grow their business; and embrace digital tools to enhance the job search and recruitment process. Attendees like Chris Edwards, who owns a start-up marketing company in the metropolitan area, found the program quite useful. “Coming here today has helped me to learn what preparation I need to do and what steps I need to take to get the big contracts,” Edwards said.

The highlight of the day was the keynote speech, given by Greenburgh resident Lowell Hawthorne (above, left), president and CEO of Bronx-based Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill. Hawthorne, who immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica, launched Golden Krust in 1989 and has grown the family-run firm to more than 125 locations in nearly a dozen states, grossing more than $100 million in annual sales. He shared his inspiring rags-to-riches tale to a rapt audience. “Golden Krust’s success did not come overnight and yours won’t either,” he said. “Success belongs to no one. It is there to be had by anyone that works hard… Go forth and get your share of success. You can do it!”

(Stay tuned for a post next week that will share Hawthorne’s business wisdom…)

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

Our Best of Westchester Elimination Ballot is open through March 6!

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