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2024 Raising Kane Business Summit

The 13th annual Raising Kane Business Summit was held at the Kanab Center on January 12, 2024, bringing together business owners, community leaders, elected officials, and entrepreneurs for a transformative event.


More than 200 attendees gathered at the Kanab Center on January 12, 2024, for the 13th Annual Raising Kane Business Summit. Photo by Kelly Stowell.

The day started with a hearty breakfast buffet provided by Parry Lodge, followed by a state of the county presentation by Kane County Commission Chairman Wade Heaton. Kanab City Manager Kyler Ludwig next provided updates on municipal projects and initiatives.


All three Kane County legislators – Representative Phil Lyman, Senator David Hinkins, and Senator Derrin Owens – offered remarks about state priorities and initiatives.


Business spotlights included an update from Dr. Buck Montgomery about the Once Upon a Time in America Museum, opening just east of Kanab in spring 2024. Melissa Griffiths of Bless this Mess gave an amazing presentation on how she built her business and following and treated attendees to fresh apple cider from Orderville.


Janette Peatross, Kane County Office of Tourism Director spoke about county tourism initiatives, and Camille Johnson presented about state tourism efforts and trends.


Pat Guerrero, Kanab Area Chamber of Commerce President, spoke about the chamber's growth in 2023 and plans for 2024. Southern Utah News managing partner Don Jennings talked about the history of the newspaper and efforts to keep it circulating into the future.


Natalie Britt, CEO for Zion Forever Project, and Amanda Rowland, Acting Deputy Superintendent at Zion National Park, provided an update on developments in East Zion, and the morning closed with a panel on regional economic support with Colette Cox and Lance Soffe from the State of Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity; Stephen Lisonbee, of Governor Spencer Cox’s Office; Melinda Thorpe, from Southern Utah University; and Wyatt Anderson, from the Business Resource Center at Utah Tech University.


Local businesses and service providers were on hand to visit with attendees, and were highlighted before a delicious lunch served by Chef Shon and the crew at Sego.


After lunch Brad Bonham delivered a captivating keynote speech centered around the themes of success, leadership, and the journey of building a thriving business. Bonham shared insights from his personal entrepreneurial journey, highlighting the challenges and triumphs shaping Walker Edison into a prominent player in the furniture industry. He emphasized the importance of innovation and adaptability in a rapidly changing business landscape.


“Brad Bonham’s inspirational keynote speech was a highlight of the event for me,” said Kelly Stowell, one of the event organizers, going on to add, “We appreciate all the speakers, helpers, attendees, sponsors, and everyone who made the event possible, and were happy to convene at the Kanab Center for an eventful day.”


Exhibitors at the event included Kanab Area Chamber of Commerce. Southern Utah News, Women’s Business Center of Utah, Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, Economic Development Corporation of Utah, US Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center, Utah Tech Atwood Innovation Plaza, SUU Community & Corporate Education, Southwest Tech/Custom Fit, Impact Utah, A Bolder Way Forward, Best Friends Animal Society, Utah Department of Workforce Services, While You’re In Town, Zion National Park Forever Project, Sunny Beginnings, USU Extension – Remote Online Initiative, and Bless This Mess.


Afternoon sessions featured Josh Beitler of Zonos, Inc. presenting on Using Artificial Intelligence to Efficiently Build Your Business, and a discussion panel on regional support for local businesses.


The summit was filmed, and the full event proceedings will be made available on the Kane County Office of Tourism’s YouTube channel.


Special thanks is given to the sponsors who made the event possible, including Kane County, Kane County Office of Tourism, Kane County Economic Opportunity Board, Economic Development Corporation of Utah, Kanab Area Chamber of Commerce, Kanab City, Small Business Development Center, Business Resource Center, Governor's Office of Economic Opportunity, and the Center for Education, Business, and the Arts.

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