On September 18, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: NYX), Accion, and Yelp will bring the NYSE Big StartUp “Small Business Connections: Marketing Meets Microfinancing” nationwide workshop tour to Chicago. The event will provide local business owners with access to two resources essential for developing and growing any business: social media marketing know-how and access to capital. Chicago is the sixth stop on the Small Business Connections tour.
Yelp’s Manager of Local Business Outreach, Darnell Holloway, will kick off the event by discussing how entrepreneurs can work with major social media platforms, engage with customers online and navigate the world of online reviews. Chicago is one of Yelp’s largest markets and Mr. Holloway will dive into the benefits of taking advantage of Yelp’s free suite of tools for business owners.
“Yelp provides local business owners with free tools that allow us to engage with current and future customers who are turning to Yelp to make a spending decision,” said David Faber, member of Yelp’s Small Business Advisory Council and co-founder of Ortanic, a local Chicago sunless tanning salon. “At the very least, I recommend that businesses unlock these free tools and make sure the information about their business is correct.”
Next, Accion loan officer, Adrian Mendieta, will discuss how to access capital and finance marketing costs with an Accion microloan. Accion has provided over 2,600 loans in the Chicago area since 1994. Anthony Waller, owner of Chicago small business Catering Out the Box will speak at the event about his experiences working with Accion. After fourteen years in the food services field, working with companies like Sara Lee, Anthony branched out own his own and started his catering business out of his home. Today, Catering Out the Box offers gourmet boxed lunches out of a spacious Near West size location. “My Accion loan was an important resource in growing my business,” says Mr. Waller. “I’m pleased to join them and Yelp in helping other small business owners learn how they can grow.”The Small Business Connections tour has proven to be a high-impact resource for local small business owners. Based on data gathered from the tour’s previous events, attendees have reported learning an average of three new marketing techniques. Networking also played a pivotal role, with participants meeting an average of three other entrepreneurs who could help them expand through new channels. “Access to low-cost marketing tools and support networks are two essential ingredients for small business success,” says Jonathan Brereton, CEO of Accion in Chicago. “We’re excited to bring these resources to Chicago entrepreneurs with this impactful event.”