Jim Moran Institute, Florida SBDC Network Announce Partnership

ORLANDO, FLA. (August 3, 2018) – The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, part of Florida State University’s College of Business, and the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, are pleased to announce their partnership to host the 2019 Small Business Leadership Conference in Orlando, summer 2019.

The annual Jim Moran Institute Small Business Leadership Conference provides an opportunity for small business owners and entrepreneurs to learn, share and network. Speakers cover innovative techniques, solutions, and practices that help improve all aspects of every business owner’s relationship with customers. The conference’s breakout workshop attendees learn in smaller, more focused groups to discuss topics that interest them most. Held in Fort Lauderdale in previous years, the conference moved to Orlando in 2018 to reach more small business owners and entrepreneurs from around the state.

 “The Florida SBDC Network has cultivated a statewide ecosystem of support and business assistance that aligns with our goal of continuing to provide high-level professional development opportunities for Florida small business owners and entrepreneurs,” said Melissa Roberts, managing director of operations for the Jim Moran Institute. “Together we will be able to identify key topics, leverage relevant resources and provide the best speakers to elevate the 2019 Small Business Leadership Conference to the premier statewide event for Florida businesses.”

Founded in 1976, the Florida SBDC Network is the state’s principal provider of small business assistance, with over 40 offices from Pensacola to Key West. Headquartered at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, the Florida SBDC Network partners with the state’s universities, colleges, and other economic development organizations to assist small and medium-sized businesses through its no-cost, professional business consulting, training, and research service offering.

“The Jim Moran Institute’s long commitment to cultivate, train, and inspire entrepreneurial leaders complements our mission to provide small businesses with the resources and expertise to grow and succeed,” said Michael W. Myhre, CEO of the Florida SBDC Network. “We look forward to partnering with the Jim Moran Institute on this important event to help more entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed and create more jobs for Florida’s families.”

The 8th Annual Small Business Leadership Conference, presented by JPMorgan Chase & Co., was held August 1-3, 2018 at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. This year’s theme, ‘It’s All About The Customer,’ focused on the importance of a small business and its relationship with its customers, and provided the opportunity to learn innovative techniques, solutions and practices to improve all aspects of customer relations.

The conference kicked off with an entertaining keynote presentation from Dr. Tommy Karam, senior instructor in the department of marketing at Louisiana State University, who discussed the importance of personal branding.

Breakout workshops throughout the conference featured national experts speaking on topics including financing, legal issues, strategic planning, leadership, marketing and nonprofit organizations.

Mk Haley, Walt Disney Company Imagineer and entrepreneur-in-residence at the FSU Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship at FSU, led a keynote session on how business owners can create transformative experiences for their customers in order to improve customer retention. Haley has been with The Walt Disney Company since 1994 primarily in imagineering roles within virtual reality teams, R&D, special effects, show quality services and the Disney research labs.

A new plenary session with a fast-paced, Ted Talk style titled Hot Mic was introduced this year and featured three speakers who presented topics from each area of their expertise. Speakers included Anthony M. Butler, senior international director of E3 Business Group; Kristal Caron, owner and managing partner of CN Sports Group; and Jeff Piersall, founder and CEO of SCB Marketing.

The “Pitch the Editor” competition featured five conference attendees who made three-minute pitches to Caron, Michelle Griffith, vice president of Boardroom PR; and Piersall. Abraham Kamarck, CEO and founder of True Made Foods, won the competition and took home $5,000 in cash courtesy of the Jim Moran Institute. Abraham also won a feature story in i4 Business magazine and a full-ride scholarship to attend the Jim Moran Institute’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Accelerate program taking place October 22-26, 2018.

The conference concluded with a keynote presentation by FSU College of Business alumni and restauranteur, John Rivers, founder and CEO of 4 Rivers Smokehouse, an award-winning BBQ chain with locations in Florida and Georgia. Rivers, who left his position as president of a $1.5-billion-dollar healthcare company to open his restaurant, spoke about gaining new customers through community involvement and engagement.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Conference, please visit jmiconference.com.

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