Small business celebrations run through May

Wilson ranked 4th best US city to start a business

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Small Business Month is fast approaching and spaces are limited for a variety of Wilson Chamber of Commerce celebrations.

“It’s an understatement to call small business an engine of our economy. Chamber membership is a useful indicator, and as much as 90 percent of our members have fewer than 25 employees,” said chamber President Ryan Simons. “We owe it to them to acknowledge their contributions, and provide them with tools and resources they need to be successful.”

The festivities kick off with the Small Business Banquet at noon May 1 at Wilson Country Club. Admission to the event is $15 and registration is required. This year’s honoree is Dr. LaTanya Simpson of Eastern Carolina Chiropractic for her support of the community and integral part in developing the chamber’s B2B program.

“Few events are as anticipated as awarding the Small Business Leader of the Year Award. It’s a special honor, and one that has been conferred on some of the most respected businesspeople in Wilson,” Simons said. “LaTanya Simpson embodies all the qualities that you would expect from a successful businessperson, but she also deserves credit for sharing her gifts with others, guiding them toward success as well.”

The May Chamber B2B will take place at noon on May 8 with an emphasis on tax essentials for small business members. Registration is required for the free event and attendees are encouraged to prepare a short “elevator pitch” for their business as part of the networking portion of the lunch.

The Community Partner Showcase will take place the week of May 14 with officials promoting the Small Business Center at Wilson Community College, the Upper Coastal Plains Business Development Center and the Wilson Downtown Development Corp.

A Chamber of Commerce lunch and learn session will be held at noon on May 22 where Mark Easley will speak about investment crowdfunding. Registration is required for the free event.

“Part of our responsibility at the Wilson Chamber is to help guide our members to other resources that can help them be successful,” Simons said. “Investment crowdfunding happens to be one of those resources that I expect will change the landscape of small business development in a positive way in Wilson for years to come.”

The Ribbon-Cutting Rodeo will take place on May 29 this year with chamber staff doing ribbon-cuttings at small businesses around town every hour, on the hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A full list of the businesses will be released soon.

“The RibbonCutting Rodeo is one of the more creative approaches to celebrating Small Business Month that we’ve ever tried,” Simons said. “While we’re always excited to welcome new members, this is going to be a unique and special way to thank small businesses for the contributions they are making in our community.”

According to a recent study by WalletHub, Wilson was compared with more than 1,200 other small-sized cities to find the best cities to start a business and Wilson ranked fourth best city in the country to start a business.

Across the 18 metrics that were considered, Wilson ranked 38th in average revenue per business and 39th in human-resource availability and 65th in business costs. Other notable findings ranked Wilson 102nd with regard to access to resources and 121st for business environment. WalletHub officials said first equates to the best in those categories and 631st is the average among the findings.

Simons said the activities during Small Business Month celebrate Wilson’s place as a good place to do business.

“I’m confident that each of the programs offered during Small Business Month will resonate with anyone who has run a small business or thought of starting one,” Simons said.

Other activities include discounted tickets to the Wilson Tobs for chamber members to the 7 p.m. game on May 31 and Chamber 101 at noon on June 1. All of the festivities are due in part to sponsorships by BB&T, Providence Bank and Southern Bank. For more information or to register for events, call 252-237-0165.