by David Chapman
National Small Business Week may have concluded on the national level last week, but the celebration locally continued Wednesday with the 19th Annual Small Business Week.
The annual event honors small business leaders, champions and lenders, with the festivities again hosted at the University of North Florida University Center.
“It’s always a nice opportunity to recognize some of the top business in the community,” said Stephanie Royal, director of marketing, Small Business Development Center at UNF. “It’s a stringent nomination process and we’re proud of all the recipients.”
Recognized by the Small Business Administration, there were six Small Business Week Awards presented this year. They include: “Small Business Exporter of the Year” David Capps of Caribbean Breeze; “Financial Services Champion of the Year” Jessica Lynn Evans of Regions Bank; “Jeffrey Butland Family-Owned Business of the Year” Scott Shannon Hulihan of Hulihan Territory Inc.; “Minority Small Business Champion of the Year” Arthur Lee of Lee Wesley Restaurants LLC; “Women in Business Champion of the Year” Kathryn Murphy of Comfort Keepers; and “Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year” David Moorefield of DAK Resources.
Several lenders in the North Florida were presented awards as well.
Close to 300 people attended the event that included a presentation by keynote speaker Kelly McDonald, author and founder of McDonald Marketing, who provided insights on diversity marketing.
“When most people hear diversity, they think along racial and ethnic lines,” said McDonald. “I think diversity is much more than that … we are all different from each other.”
McDonald discussed different forms of diversity based on gender, religion, political view, sexual orientation and physical disabilities among others, and the differences in attitudes and personalities of the four generations of working-class consumers.
After identifying the different forms of diversity not all people identify, McDonald then offered advice on how business owners can hone their marketing message. Her steps of building a better message included identifying and providing what consumers actually want, building infrastructure to handle the demand, knowing the target audience, recognizing the different needs of intended audiences, creating a special product and training for cultural sensitivity.