This past weekend's , sponsored by the city of Snellville's economic department and the Snellville Entrepreneur Council, brought together about 100 local entrepreneurs and prospective small business owners.
“Things are about to change in Snellville” was the catchphrase of the evening, and it's easy to see why. The , Southern Gwinnett Community Arts, the progress in the development of the , and multiple other enterprises have come to fruition over the past couple of years.
Toward the end of the event, Snellville Entrepreneur Council president Waylee George updated the slogan, saying, "Things have changed in Snellville."
Moving Snellville Forward
Another initiative was unveiled during the summit – the Snellville Business Toolbox. Designed by the city's economic development intern Ted Ranney, the toolbox is an online platform designed to make starting a new business simple.
“It's a one-stop shop online resource for people interested in starting, growing or sustaining their business,” Ranney said. “It's designed to bring everything together for people of all stages of growth in their business.”
The site includes a startup checklist, which takes a visitor from naming his or her business all the way through hiring employees. If a person is unsure of how to file for a business license, step 12 indicates how. Need to form a business plan? Step 4 not only describes what a business plan entails, but provides a detailed template for standard plans.
The Snellville Business Toolbox serves not only as an online resource, but also to link together mentors with new business owners.
Organizers aim for site to be as user-friendly as it can possibly get. The goal, according to Ranney, was to get the most information out to you with the least amount of clicks.
A Supportive Community
, who owns , started his business nine years ago.
“I looked at this city and thought, 'this city has a lot to offer,'” Howard said.
He believes that Snellville is in an economic development growth spurt.
“A lot of the things the city is doing,” Howard said to the audience during the summit, “and what this summit will do will make an impact on this city. We want to help you, support you and be behind you. All of the council is ready to help.”
The event was catered by Queen of Oats, a youth-owned startup that took part in " themed event. Queen of Oats is mentored by Hank Reid, owner of Trinity Community Culinary Institute.
“They sat in this room,” said Howard of the nine new business owners, “and presented their business plan and hopes and dreams, and they walked away with a sense of pride.”
Eric Van Otteren, director of economic development, said they have issued 24 business licenses to youth-owned businesses, representing 50 Snellville students.
Local business owners spoke during the summit and offered their advice to the audience. All spoke of the amount of support offered by the city during their early days.
“Eric [Van Otteren] has been a great asset to the city and to our company,” said Torey Rose of .
Djuana Ferguson, founder of , which relocated to Snellville in January, believed her school received little support in previous locations.
“Since our application was approved,” she said, “it's been a tremendous amount of support. Anything we needed, we just picked up the phone and it's been there.”