BIZTIPS - March 11, 2007

Biz Tips: Best Time for Small Business Help is Now
Sunday, Mar. 11, 2007
By Art Hill

Two recent events and three more on the way demonstrate the high level of support now available to small business throughout our region.

The first was the most recent event in the "Pub Talk" series. "Angel Investing 101" was held Wednesday evening at the Red Lion in Pendleton. Over 40 area business owners and investors heard featured speaker Dennis Powers outline what he looks for when he puts anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000 into a growing company. They learned what it means to be prepared for that kind of investment, how many deals are successful, and exactly what criteria investors use to give a deal the green light.

A second event was held Friday at Eastern Oregon University. Sponsored by Small Business Development Centers, banks, and economic development organizations, the schedule was packed with seminars on topics from legal protection to marketing and funding. Small business support representatives and information filled a meeting hall. Keynote speakers included state and federal agency directors, and the luncheon highlight was the presentation of a check for $500,000 in new federal funding for business development.

But the real payoffs for the 37 entrepreneurs who presented their business plans were feedback on their ideas from teams of experts, and cash prizes for the top plans. Four business plan contest winners walked off with a total of $10,000 to help them turn their plans into reality. Bankers invited them to present financing proposals, and other experienced business owners and professionals supported them through valuable networking.

But as great as events like these are, you can't benefit if you're not there. While they were well attended, many more business owners passed them up. Why? I'm sure they all had great excuses. But one of the business plan winners I talked with came straight to the competition after driving from Washington D.C. to relocate in eastern Oregon. Her day is only 24 hours long just like ours, but it's what she did with her time preparing for and attending the event that earned her the prize.

The next opportunities to experience what these resources can do for your business are coming up with "Pub Talks" on March 21 in Baker City and on May 15 and 17 in Hermiston and Pendleton. Exact times and locations will be available through your Small Business Development Centers and Chambers of Commerce. You owe it to your business and your future to be there.

Some events actually do change your life. Nearly 100 business owners from 10 eastern Oregon counties learned that this week. Now it's your turn.

Content © 2007 East Oregonian