Washtenaw County to host "Small Business Day" featuring free workshops for entrepreneurs

In celebration of National Small Business Week, the Washtenaw County Office for Community and Economic Development (OCED) will hold a Small Business Day on May 10. The free virtual event will involve several panels and discussions covering a variety of topics for those interested in starting a new business, seasoned small business owners, and anyone in between.

OCED Economic Opportunity Manager Cheranissa Williams says the online summit is the result of the county listening to community business owners. The county seeks to provide programming business owners want and need, especially with the end of programs like the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

“We’re trying to make sure that we’re giving information and resources to continue to grow the ecosystem for entrepreneurs in this county,” Williams says. “We want to listen to them and give them what they say they’re looking for.”

The OCED is partnering with organizations like the Washtenaw Community College Entrepreneurship Center, Ann Arbor SPARK, and APEX Accelerator at Schoolcraft College Business Development Center to offer sessions on topics such as finding grants, securing government contracting, and networking. 

All discussions and panels will take place virtually, which Williams says is a way to make the event as accessible as possible to the community. 

“We wanted to do one day online to reach as many people as we can,” she says. “People may not know all of the resources in the community, but we thought if we provided some visibility for some of those resources, people could go to them and connect with them as well.”

Small Business Day will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 10. Those interested can register for the event here, or contact Williams at williamsch@washtenaw.org with any questions. Future events geared toward local business owners, as well as all other OCED events, will be announced via the OCED Facebook page.

“I want to help continue the work the county has been doing in workforce development and bridge the gap in entrepreneurship,” Williams says. “As a county, we’re working hard to make sure that economic opportunities folks have missed are coming to a place where they can take advantage of [them].”

Rylee Barnsdale is a Michigan native and longtime Washtenaw County resident. She wants to use her journalistic experience from her time at Eastern Michigan University writing for the Eastern Echo to tell the stories of Washtenaw County residents that need to be heard.

Photo courtesy of Cheranissa Williams.
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