This week I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 USASBE Conference
which was held in Tampa, Fla. The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) is the largest independent, professional, academic organization in the world dedicated to advancing the discipline of entrepreneurship.
Patrick Snyder - Executive Director of USASBE
This years conference got off to a great start with the keynote address from Richard Gonzmart who is the President of the Columbia Group which owns the historic, Spanish cuisine Columbia Restaurant in the Tampa area founded by his family in 1905. Richard shared his family's remarkable story of moving to the US from Cuba and working hard for over 100 years to build one of the most successful restaurants in the country. Talk about a sustainable business! And besides the amazing business success over five generations, the Gonzmart family is also very involved with the community and generously donates their time and money to a number of local hospitals and other charitable organizations in the Tampa area. An impressive family for sure!
Hellen Davis - CEO of Indaba
Another presentation I really enjoyed was from Hellen Davis, founder, President and CEO of Indaba, Inc which is a web-based management, consulting, and training corporation headquartered in Tampa. Her presentation was titled "Being a Chameleon on a Rainbow: What I've Learned about Change and Decision Making as an Entrepreneur." Hellen's advice about "tacking into the wind," conserving cash and listening to people when implementing change in your business made a lot of sense to me. And I loved her story about "the one that got away" back in the early 80's when she didn't "listen" and missed out on making a $25,000 investment in fax machines that resulted in a multi million return a few years later.
I also enjoyed getting the opportunity to present at the conference myself about how to use crisis to strengthen and grow your business in the exhibitor track Friday afternoon as well as having "Hitting the Curveballs" as the featured book of the conference. Got a lot of positive feedback (on both) which was very rewarding! Also had a lot of fun demonstrating ISI's distance learning and digital signage technology to conference attendees and looks like we may have several good future sales opportunities.
Dr. Elena Pereverzeva and Dr. Marina Sheresheva from Moscow, Russia
And another interesting note about this years USASBE Conference? Even though USASBE stands for United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship this years conference had attendees not just from the US but from all across the WORLD including Mexico, Russia, China and Jamaica. I particularly enjoyed meeting two professors from Moscow State University(Dr. Elena Pereverzeva and Dr. Marina Sheresheva) who came by the ISI booth to check out our technology and get an autographed copy of my book. Very nice ladies doing some amazing work! Entrepreneurship truly is a global initiative and USASBE is doing a great job spreading the word!