The ballroom at the Kanab Center was brightly lit and abuzz with conversation before the highly anticipated Kanab Resource Roadshow hosted by the chamber and the U.S. Small Business Administration's Utah District Office on August 3, 2023. The result of months of planning between the chamber board and the SBA regional office, the event promised a unique and valuable opportunity for local business owners to access supportive resources. The chamber plans to make the roadshow an annual event.
Pat Guerrero, Kanab Area Chamber President, welcomed about 40 attendees at the top of the meeting before passing the mic to Kane County Commissioner Celeste Meyeres. A small business owner herself, Meyeres thanked everyone for attending, noting that community events like this are an important part of economic development in the area.
Guerrero next introduced Don McMillan, Deputy District Director of the Utah District Office of the SBA. Mr. McMillan spoke about the SBA’s work in Utah in support of small businesses, including resources for business counseling, contracting, and loan programs, noting that current SBA emphasis is on underserved markets, rural business development, cyber security, chambers of commerce, and access to funding. A copy of the SBA’s slideshow can be found on the Kanab Chamber’s website at kanabchamber.org/resources.
Chamber secretary Don Jennings, wearing his Southern Utah News General Manager hat, presented a 10-minute talk titled “Creating an Effective Elevator Pitch,” after which attendees created their own pitches to use in the "speed networking" portion of the program. A copy of his slideshow can be found on the chamber’s website, as well.
Jackie Hobson, Marketing & Outreach Specialist with the SBA’s Utah District office, stepped to the podium to explain how the morning's "speed networking" would work. Resource partners in attendance included Utah Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center of Utah, World Trade Center Utah, U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Small Business Administration, Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, Utah Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Custom Fit Training, Impact Utah, and Utah Cyber Initiative, who rotated from table to table leading 15-minute small group networking sessions.
An SBA Lending Panel entitled "Access to Capital" was next on the agenda. Panelists from the Utah Microloan Fund, Zions Bank, Mountain America Credit Union, State Bank of Southern Utah, and Mountain West Small Business Finance answered a wide range of questions from the group.
After about 30 minutes of questions and answers the event broke for informal networking.
Local business owner Christiane Turner said, “I came today for ideas, information, and motivation, and am happy to say I got even more than I expected. It was also helpful to get new contacts and resources that will help me grow my business.”
Learn more about the Kanab Area Chamber of Commerce at kanabchamber.org.
Learn more about the SBA’s Utah District Office at sba.gov/district/utah.