Jim Moran Institute Hosts 12th Annual Small Business Leadership Conference

Lauren Sparling

The Small Business Leadership Conference, hosted annually by the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, concluded on June 21st after three days of professional development and networking for its attendees. Featuring keynote presentations from Esu Ma’at, Alex Oliveira, Jay Owen and Lisa Price, along with a bevy of informative workshop sessions, small business owners and entrepreneurs were able to hear experts in their field speak on real-world topics.  

“What I love about being at the Jim Moran Institute Small Business Leadership Conference is the amazing ability to connect with the other business owners, to learn from one another”, says Nadia Osman, a Business Consultant at the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. 

“These break-out sessions are really designed to give hands-on, practical tips on how you can take your business to the next level. Whether it's really understanding your financials, really understanding your digital marketing, or moving forward with your business continuity plan, you get a little bit of all of it here at the SBLC.” 

On the first night of the conference, attendees were invited to join in at a Welcome Luau, to kick off the start of the conference and enjoy a live ukulele performance and dinner. Alumni of Jim Moran programs, including the Small Business Executive Program, Nonprofit Executive Program and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans, gathered for a reception after the luau to catch up with fellow alumni. 

Laurie Lee, a business attorney for the Legal Department for Service Professionals and Jim Moran Institute program alum, says “I was in the JMI program about 5 years ago, and I thought that it was dynamic. I learned so much not only from the instructors - who are very knowledgeable - but from the other attendees; the other business owners who were in the room with me. Coming to this conference was like 10x’ing that class and I would recommend it to every small business owner to take the program and to come to the conference, because it's been amazing.” 

Attendees were given time each day between keynotes and sessions to connect with other small business owners and reflect on their experiences.  

On day two of the Small Business Leadership Conference, the semi-final round of the pitch competition was hosted to give attendees an opportunity to win funding for their business ideas and get feedback from a special panel of expert judges. Contestants gave their pitches in either the Startup or Scaleup category and six entrants moved on to the final pitch round on Wednesday. Tracy Eckles, owner of Sleep Tight Tallahassee, LLC, won the startup division and Eurydice Stanley, owner of Lamp Press won the scaleup division.  

The conference was supported by sponsors such as the Better Business Bureau, the National Development Council, the SBDC, and the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans & Military Families at Syracuse University. Each sponsor was given the opportunity to exhibit during the conference and provide insights about their company to attendees.  

The 12th annual conference ended on Wednesday after an insightful keynote luncheon from Lisa Price. Price, founder of the hair and skincare line Carol’s Daughter, spoke about her entrepreneurship journey and gave advice to fellow small business owners.  

Price says in her keynote, “I did not have mentors in an official capacity, I didn’t know where to find them….with social media now, there are so many people to follow and learn from, it's not so much of an official sit down and talk but the information is there we just need to reach out and grab it”.  

Overall, the conference provided an opportunity for small business owners and entrepreneurs to network and learn from each other. The Jim Moran Institute encourages interested leaders to look into and apply for JMI programs throughout the year to learn the best business practices and capitalize on their business opportunities. 


Visit SBLConference.com to view photos and highlight videos from the conference.