Hundreds of Western New Yorkers are on a better path to start their own business today following an event at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
This year’s edition of the annual event, Straight Talk, faced major challenges because of the partial government shutdown that kept federal workers from the Small Business Administration off the job.
Even with the President and Congress reaching a deal to re-open the government on Friday, SBA workers were not back to work in time to take part.
“Not having them here threw a little bit of a wrinkle. Fortunately, we’ve had volunteers and mentors within SCORE as well as the community partners and vendor sponsors that are attending the event still continuing and moving forward,” said John Redman, SCORE Buffalo Niagara’s Chapter President.
Redman said the event has created thousands of jobs over the 23 years the event has been held in Buffalo.
“We’re all volunteers, we’re all business executives and professionals either in the community or worldwide experience. It’s our pleasure to be able to support other small businesses to make them successful,” said Almarie Falbo, SCORE Buffalo Niagara’s workshop chair.
Hundreds of entrepreneurs with budding business ideas started their Straight Talk day with a session all about business planning and business strategy.
Following the strategy session, it was all about break-out sessions which covered a variety of topics aimed at giving entrepreneurs the skills they need to succeed.
“From marketing to taxes and permits to getting capital financing through lending institutions,” said Redman.
Darrin Strickland is grateful for Straight Talk. He’s trying to grow his health and safety business, providing specialized disaster and emergency training around the region.
“I like helping people, so becoming a cpr instructor, one thing led to another where I actually expanded out providing these other services that ultimately are life saving skills that people need to have,” said Strickland.
He said he started his business, Strickland Business WNY, three years ago this week and says what he gets out of these workshops is huge.
“More information networking resources, things that are available, contacts are immeasurable when you’re trying to expand your business get it to grow. Meeting people, taking it to the next level, Straight Talk is definitely a good place to be.”