(OzSBI) hosted its fifth annual National Small Business Week celebration on May 9 with over 60 attendees. Aspiring and existing entrepreneurs and business owners gathered to hear journeys of successful entrepreneurs and network with other business owners during EPIC (Entrepreneur Potential and Innovation Collaboration) 19 at OzSBI.
EPIC 19 featured keynote speaker Ellen Rohr, the nationally recognized “Business Makeover Expert.” Rohr’s presentation included tips on “Rockin’ Referral Marketing.” Rohr has written for The Huffington Post and the New York Times and appeared as a business advisor on ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. After nearly sinking her husband’s plumming business, Ellen learned how to grow her business by tracking the numbers resulting in a company that grew from zero to $40 million in franchise sales and 47 location in less than 2 years.
Attendees also had the opportunity to hear the journeys of three Ozark Innovators at a round-table discussion.
This year’s featured innovators were Melanie Stinnett of TheraCare Outpatient Services in Springfield, Phil Wages of Wages Brewing Company and Autumn Shirley of Fundraiser Software, both located in West Plains. Innovators discussed what they faced when starting their own business and what it took to become successful.
A Community Business Pitch Competition was also held during the event. Each particpating entrepreneur presented a six-minute pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to win a first-place prize with a cash value of $350, professional mentoring sessions and one year of coworking space at OzSBI. Alice Barnes placed first with her pitch to create a virtual reality game to be used for physical therapy. Dave Malone placed second with The Write Track, a mobile and web-based service for writers to log and track submissions, and Rose Martin placed third with Little Llama and Mama Boutique, a maternity and children’s clothing boutique. Judges included Kimberly Bontrager, Arvest Bank; Reid Grigsby, Norman Orr Office Supply; and Micheal Hoff, Community First Banking Company.
OzSBI’s 2019 Entrepreneur of The Year Award was determined by a people’s choice vote during the event. Attendees were able to vote from a list of nominees nominated by fellow community members. The award recognized business growth, sustainability, innovativeness and community involvement. The 2019 Entrepreneur of The Year Award was presented to Nadine Enlow of Spring Dipper in West Plains. Other nominees included: Jonathan Bergman, Hire Well Now in West Plains; Dave Malone, Dave Malone Consulting in West Plains; Danny Thomas, Current Inc., in West Plains; Doug Bawel, JASPER Engines & Transmissions in Willow Springs; Heather Hill, Countryside Pet Supply in West Plains; Rick Bettis, Ink Monkey Screen Printing & Graphics in West Plains; Jerrie Mason, Blondie’s Boutique in Ava; Sean Sweeney, The Concrete Works, LLC, in Wasola; Sam Cobb, Real Wood Floors in West Plains; and Kandi Kimball, ByrdByByrd Yoga in West Plains.
EPIC 19 also featured a Business Mix & Mingle networking opportunity. This event was held on OzSBI’s renovated second floor and featured light appetizers. Attendees were able to network with likeminded entreprenuers and business owners. OzSBI thanks its Mix & Mingle sponsors for making the mixer so successful, which included Bootleggers BBQ, McDonalds and Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company.
EPIC 19 was sponsored by Community First Banking Company, Fidelity Communications, AirMedCare, ABC Carpet One, Norman Orr Office Supply, Donahue Roofing, Inc., Adams Construction, Arvest Bank, The Fisher Firm, State Farm – Ramona Heiney, and Welch, Couch & Company, PA.