News Column

Small Business Forum Offers Pro-tips for Survival

June 11, 2013

Vic Kolenc

latina businesswoman

Details about jobs programs for employers, small business contracting opportunities, and social media tips will be part of the annual Governor's Small Business Forum on Thursday in El Paso.

"This is for those who want to grow their (small) business or want to start a business," said Minda Villarreal, vice president of business development at the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, which is hosting the forum with the Texas governor's office.

About 100 people had signed up by Monday for the forum at the Wyndham El Paso Airport Hotel, but people can still sign up until Wednesday, she said. It costs $75 per person, which includes breakfast and lunch.

Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar is scheduled to kick off the forum with a talk about what programs and services the state agency has for employers and employees.

Morning breakout sessions will include a city official talking about small business contracting opportunities tied to the recently passed $473 million quality-of-life bond issue. Representatives for the contractors building the $50 million Downtown baseball stadium also will discuss contracting opportunities for that project.

Stephen DuPlessis, a Xerox sales executive in El Paso -- who, according to his Twitter account, is fascinated by business and marketing practices -- will provide tips for using social media to generate more customer traffic and sales leads.

The forum begins at 9:15 a.m. with an hour of talks from experts on jobs programs, including customized job training programs at El Paso Community College. Participants can choose to sit in on any of four breakout sessions in the morning and three in the afternoon.

Sue Malone, a California-based specialist on Small Business Administration loans, will tackle a topic outside the loan arena as the forum's luncheon speaker. She will talk about how the federal government's budget sequestration cuts will affect small businesses, and provide ways for businesses to survive the federal cuts.

Four tiny businesses and one small business advocate will be honored with the Governor's Small Business of the Year Awards. The winners are "mom and pop" businesses that have been very successful, Villarreal said. They are:

M&M Weaver Commercial Cleaning, a janitorial service operated by Mark Weaver.Rapid Refill, a printer cartridge recycling and sales franchised outlet operated by Teresa Vargas.Mountain View Golf Carts, golf-cart repair and customization shop operated by Steve and Claudette Watson.Westend Hair Company and Day Spa, operated by Monica Lorey and Gloria Viramontes.LegalShield sales associates Eddie Peters and Melissa Wilder, who are being honored for being small business advocates.

Vic Kolenc may be reached at, 546-6421. Follow him on Twitter @vickolenc


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Source: Copyright El Paso Times (TX) 2013

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