National Small Business Week kicks off on Monday, May 12 and continues through Friday, May 16. Started by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the annual celebration recognizes the contributions of small businesses to America's economy. The event is hosted by the Small Business Administration and includes workshops and expert keynotes on timely topics affecting small businesses, whether strategies for raising capital, better engaging customers or using social media for marketing.
Here are some ways to participate in this year’s weeklong celebration:
Join an online event. Several free webinars on timely small-business topics will be held over the course of the week, including one on creating a “killer customer loyalty program” (hosted by Manta on Wednesday) and offering voluntary benefits to employees (hosted by insurer Colonial Life on Tuesday). You must pre-register online for these webinars, and unfortunately some of them have already sold out. Several talks will also be streamed live.
Attend a regional SBA in-person event. This year, the SBA is hosting events in a few U.S. cities in order to broaden the reach of Small Business Week. It kicks off with a meeting at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco on Monday (sold out), and includes other regional events in Kansas City (May 13), Boston (May 15) and Washington, D.C. (May 15-16). Featured speakers at these events will include Henry W. Bloch, co-founder of H&R Block (Kansas City); Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact (Boston); Eddie Kennison, former NFL wide receiver (Kansas City); and Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen (Washington, D.C.).
Check out non-SBA events. Beyond the official SBA-hosted events, organizations and companies around the U.S. are putting on their own live and online events for Small Business Week. GoDaddy is hosting a webinar on integrated marketing on Tuesday, for example, while Conduit Mobile is hosting a summit on mobile opportunities for small businesses on Wednesday in New York City. If you're looking for more options, SmallBizTrends.com offers a big list of Small Business Week events.
Read more articles about Small Business Week.