The Ozarks Small Business Incubator (OzSBI) will host its eighth annual National Small Business Week celebration on May 11th, 2023. In the past, EPIC has featured roundtables and keynote addresses by successful area business owners, but this year, EPIC will take a turn toward the skies with EPIC: An Ozarks Eclipse Experience. Current and aspiring entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders will come together at the Incubator to be informed and inspired about the upcoming total solar eclipse that the Ozarks will experience in April next year. The public is invited and encouraged to attend this event.
EPIC: An Ozarks Eclipse Experience will feature keynote speaker Brook Kaufman, President and CEO of Visit Rapid City where she leads the charge to grow the local visitor economy. Prior to joining Visit Rapid City, she was the CEO of Visit Casper (Wyoming) where she played a pivotal role in taking the lead in promoting the Great American Eclipse which passed directly over Casper in 2017. Through her leadership and community strategic planning during the Eclipse, Casper welcomed thousands of visitors, received national and international media coverage and realized significant economic impact.
“We’re excited to bring Brook to OzSBI for EPIC 23,” Heather W. Fisher, OzSBI’s CEO commented. “Focusing the event on the eclipse is a brand new concept for us and there is no one better to help our community and businesses prepare for such an epic event (pun intended) than Brook.”
Brook will kick off EPIC 23 with a discussion tailored to community leaders and planners, municipal employees, Chambers of Commerce, and business owners. This session, titled Preparing Your Community for an Eclipse: 12 All-Too-Real Truths, will focus on how to prepare from a community standpoint and will be open to all audiences. Brook’s keynote speech in the afternoon, Preparing Your Business for an Eclipse: 7 Strategies For Success, is written with an eye toward area business owners and individuals that want to be ready to take advantage of the influx of tourists and the economic opportunity this celestial event will bring.
Attendees will also hear all about the basic physics of solar eclipses from Astronomer Dr. Margaret (Peggy) Hill. Dr. Hill will also discuss what to expect in and near the path of totality, which will impact many communities OzSBI’s serves including West Plains, Willow Springs, Mountain View, Thayer, Alton, Winona, Birch Tree and others. Audiences will learn how this eclipse will be different from the 2017 eclipse, and how to view the eclipse safely. Finally, they will find out where to find resources for educational STEM activities and community event planning.
The event will wrap up with a discussion from creative agency HIVEMINDED Marketing about how businesses and individuals can prepare marketing materials that will capture the attention of visiting tourists. HIVEMINDED Marketing recently collaborated with area tourism, marketing, and graphic design experts, including Autumn Shirley from the OzSBI team, to create a comprehensive free media kit for anyone in the Ozarks to use to market their eclipse-related events and activities. EPIC 23 attendees will get a preview of the media kit and learn more about destination and tourism marketing.
EPIC 23 will begin at 10:00 on May 11th with Brook’s community discussion followed by lunch and the afternoon sessions will start at 12:30. There will also be vendor tables by OzSBI sponsors and some of the speakers. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase tickets with ($35) or without lunch ($25) starting in early April. EPIC 2023 tickets can be purchased online at www.ozsbi.com/events/epic-22. Seating is limited. Anyone who registers and pays by April 13th will receive a $5 discount. Community First Banking Company is the Platinum Sponsor of EPIC 2023. Our keynote sponsor is provided by the Howell County Commission. OzSBI is grateful for the both organizations’ support of the services we offer to the business community. For more information about EPIC 2022, visit OzSBI’s Facebook page or website at www.ozsbi.com, or call 417-256-9724.