An ongoing 50 plus year tradition, National Small Business Week recognizes contributions made by U.S. small business owners, and this year, the celebration falls May 5 through May 11. Entrepreneurs across the U.S. spend the week celebrating small businesses, which, according to the SBA, create two out of every three new jobs in the country each year.
These businesses may be small, but they sure are mighty! As the literal backbone of the country, small businesses deserve to have their moment in the spotlight. So what can communities do to unite and celebrate?
From big events to those smaller in scale, let’s take a look at how entrepreneurs can take part in their own festivities all week long.
Join the #SmallBusinessWeek Hackathon
Want to take action in helping protect small businesses from natural disasters? Get a jump start on the week by joining the Small Business Week Hackathon! Hosted by the SBA and Visa, the National Small Business Week Hackathon will be held May 3 through May 5 at Washington D.C.’s Inclusive Innovation Incubator.
What happens during the Small Business Week Hackathon 2019? The event brings together entrepreneurs, designers and developers to build small business apps and solutions. These apps and solutions will better help small businesses to prepare for and recover from a wide variety of natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, wildfires and more.
Financial prizes will be awarded to winning entries, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. Participants will be awarded for creativity, originality and realism, as they consider every potential “what if?” angle a small business must face through their apps and solutions. Issues addressed may include how to keep employees on the payroll and restoring revenue streams, post-disaster.
Even if you’re not local to the D.C. area, there’s still plenty to learn from the Hackathon: What does it take to build an app or tool with major impact?
Host a panel
Looking for something slightly smaller scale to do that allows you to interact with your community? Consider hosting a panel alongside other local businesses.
Team up with other interested businesses and discuss co-hosting a panel event together. You can choose businesses all in the same industry to discuss a relevant topic together. For instance, a cluster of bistros, food trucks, and bakeries may host a panel about what it’s like to break into the food industry.
Or, you can host a panel alongside a few businesses in industries different than your own. These chats can be focused on topics like how to get over common entrepreneurial challenges, funding for small businesses or what entrepreneurs should do before they start a small business.
Be sure to work out logistics in advance, such as where the panel will be hosted, the date, a full speaker list, admission prices, and the turnaround time to get invitations sent out. Don’t forget to advertise the news about the panel with your networks, too!
Hold a luncheon
Celebrate this year’s National Small Business Week with something social! See if your own local Chamber of Commerce has a luncheon planned — and if not, ask if you can take initiative in holding a luncheon for the community.
These luncheons do more than provide small businesses with a networking lunch. A luncheon held in honor of National Small Business Week may become a joint luncheon and awards ceremony. Awards may be created and given to members of the community for their hard work and strides forward as entrepreneurs in the space. There’s even space to award a local Small Business of the Year!
If possible, see if you can livestream the event via social media platforms for those who are unable to attend. Successful events such as these often go on to become yearly traditions, continuing to award small businesses for years to come.
Connect online with a webinar or Twitter chat
This year, the SBA will host a Twitter chat with tips for starting and growing a small business. Additionally, organizations like SCORE will hold webinars for topics covering the customer experience and more.
Feel like you’re stretched a little thin with the prospect of attending multiple in-person events? Take the conversation online by creating and hosting your own webinar or Twitter chat! The good news is that these remote opportunities are perfect for entrepreneurs on the go to tune in and join in from just about anywhere. However, both require a bit of preparation beforehand.
Keep the following considerations in mind for Twitter chats and webinars.
- Date and time: What day during National Small Business Week will you host these events and at what time? Don’t forget about conflicting time zones, too!
- Co-hosts: Will you co-host your Twitter chat with another small business?
- What will you discuss? The structure for Twitter chats is generally six questions that co-hosts or participants get the opportunity to answer. Webinars allow speakers to educate listeners on a certain topic and hold any questions until the end.
- Length: How long will your webinar and/or Twitter chat be? (Pro tip! Both are generally about an hour long)
- Hashtags: This is generally just for Twitter chats, as the hashtag used during the chat allows participants to see everyone who joins in and keep the conversation going.
Once you’ve addressed these considerations, don’t forget to provide interested participants with information regarding how they can register for the webinar and utilize hashtags for the Twitter chats.
Remember that no matter kind of event you decide to host for National Small Business Week, whether it’s a luncheon or Twitter chat, you should always provide your contact information. This ensures participants know where to find you, ask more questions, and find ways to get involved in your business year-round.