When trying to start or grow a business, finding money is always the biggest challenge. Southern Valley Economic Development Authority organized their first capital convention event to bring people together to help with their businesses at City Brew Hall on Tuesday, June 11.
Fourteen speakers, both business owners and employees of the cities of Wahpeton and Breckenridge, provided insight for the participants.
“We have to make things as easy as possible for people, so instead of dragging each one of these 14 entities to different businesses or to different banks and understanding that, let’s create an event where they come and present,” SVEDA Executive Director Justin Neppl said. “We can start making connections with business owners and bankers so they’re familiar with the programs that are available and the money that’s available to grow a business or start a business.”
About 70 participants registered for the event, but the amount of attendees exceeded SVEDA’s expectations.
“I would say 80 to 90 people (attended). We went over budget on this thing, but that’s why. More people showed up than what we were anticipating, which is a great problem to have,” Neppl said. “That’s not an issue for us. We’ll gladly spend more money if we can get more people here and exposed to these types of programs.”
The five-hour event included intermissions where the speakers and audience members could mingle and swap business cards. There’s a possibility the convention could be split into a biannual event.
“If we feel like it’s worthwhile, we’ll do it again in the winter time, which we might. It might make sense to do it semi-annually where people find value,” Neppl said. “Maybe not to this scale, but a smaller scale where we can do a morning session instead of a full-day session. Maybe we can do it a way that’ll be a little more quick like a speed-dating type thing. Here’s the business, here’s the lender, match them up.”
Along with the capital convention, SVEDA informed the participants about their upcoming small-business startup class, which will be held on July 10.