Small business owners gathered at the Cultural Activities Center on May 4 for Governor Abbot’s Small Business Summit. Temple was selected as the kickoff location for the series held throughout Texas and designed to help small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
"Small businesses have made Texas the economic legend that we are today, and people from across America continue moving to our state in droves to take advantage of the unique freedom and opportunity only offered in our great state,” said Governor Abbott in a press release announcing the summits.
The event garnered more than 200 registrants to gain critical insights from business owners and industry experts. Emceed by Lindsay Spinetto, KCEN TV Channel 6 news anchor, the summit began with a welcome, and opening remarks from Temple Chamber President Rod Henry. Aaron Demerson, the Commissioner Representing Employers for the Texas Workforce Commission, was the Guest Speaker prior to a series of panel discussions.
Lindsay Francis of the City of Temple moderated the Marketing & E-Commerce Essentials panel, which featured local business owner H.B. Macey of Perry Office Plus. Macey advised that while consumers prefer cheap, fast, and good, most times, a product can only be two of the three. He also explained that while Perry Office Plus is a local business, they operate in multiple states, not just Texas, to illustrate that small businesses don’t have to limit their operations to a small area.
The Workforce Development panel, moderated by Susan Kamas, Executive Director of Workforce Solutions of Central Texas, included the organization’s Director of Industry/Education Partnerships, Charley Ayres, Reynolds Consumer Products Human Resource Manager Karen Poe, and Vice President of Workforce Development at Temple College, DeDe Griffith. Giffith discussed the importance of businesses partnering with local community colleges to build and maintain an educated workforce; Ayres highlighted benefits offered by the state for companies that employ student workers.
Another panel, Finance & Funding, moderated by University of Mary Hardin-Baylor Dean of McLane College Dr. Ken Smith, included Business Advisor of McLennan Small Business Development Center Jason Ehler, Extraco Bank Executive Vice President Jason Collier, and Coley Group President Art Coley. The main takeaway of the panel: how business owners manage their personal finances is a good indicator of how they will manage the business's finances. Panelists encouraged business owners seeking a loan to be prepared to scale back on personal luxuries to uncover already available funds.
The final panel focused on Cybersecurity. Moderated by McLane Intelligent Solutions CEO Tracy Morris, the panel included insights from the Texas Department of Information Resources Deputy CISO/ TX Cybersecurity Coordinator Jeremy Wilson, University of Mary-Hardin Baylor Assistant Professor of Business Information Systems Dr. Jean Baptiste Koffi, and Centex Technologies Chief Technology Officer John Hocking. With the ever-evolving landscape of tech, the takeaway from this panel was ultimately to stay vigilant when protecting yourself and your organization from cyber threats.
Drayton McLane, Jr., Chairman of McLane Group, provided the Keynote Presentation.
The summit also recognized and celebrated the contributions of four local small businesses, highlighting their achievements and showcasing their success stories.
With a focus on empowerment and growth, the Governor's Small Business Summit in Temple was a must-attend event for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to take their businesses to the next level.
The summit was sponsored by Meta, Extraco Banks, Niagra Bottling Company, and Polar Bottling Company. Guests were treated to breakfast from RosieJo Meals and lunch and desserts from Wings Pizza 'N Things.