THE WORD IS—Innovation21; CEO, William Generett shares information in an armchair discussion during the SBA’s Small Business Week Pittsburgh gathering.

Joel Acie, UPMC MWDBE Project Manager explained that certification is important. He said it is in place to assure that businesses are owned by minorities and or women. “It helps mitigate risks.”

Amy Criss, the director of the Women Business Enterprise Department at 84 Lumber, the largest woman certified company in the region explained that they were not certified until recently and that their business increased significantly as a result. Judy Sheppard CEO of Professional Services of America said her certification enables her to do work with 28 federal agencies.

Other conversations during the gathering included an overview of PTI, an economic forecast by Gus Faucher, PNC senior economist, the luncheon address focusing on the Marcellus and Utica Shale projects by Scott Rotruck vice president of Chesapeake Energy, and sessions on Growing and Going Global, Crowdsourcing, Innovation Legal Issues and the Affordable Care Act.

The additional cities hosting National Small Business Week activities were Seattle, Wash., Dallas, St. Louis, Mo. and ending in Washington, D.C. with the NSBW awards ceremony.

The SBA has been conducting National Small Business Week activities for 50 years. Activities, according to Olson-Urtecho recognize the special impact made by outstanding American entrepreneurs and small business owners.

With a four point programmatic mission; access to capital, counseling, contracting support and disaster assistance, the SBA, a 60 year old agency, according to Mills is committed to carrying out President Obama’s mandate for the rest of his term. Its four year Strategic Plan is to grow businesses and creating jobs; building an SBA that meets the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s small businesses and serving as the voice for small business.


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