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Governor’s Forum provides advice, contacts for small businesses

HOUSTON – Several hundred business owners and staff took advantage of the Governor’s Small Business Forum last Monday, to hear advice on their business practices, and to meet representatives of companies that offer services and help for these businesses. The event was held at the JW Marriott hotel on Westheimer in the Galleria area.

This is the fourth series of state sponsored forums, and on hand were Texas officials, including Secretary of State John Steen, Workforce Commissioner Chair Adres Alcantar, and Consul Generals of Canada, Korea, and the United Kingdom. Emcee and host for the event was Houston Intercontinental Chamber president Reggie Gray.

The all-day session started with a welcome from Alcantar, and the title sponsor Insperity. Breakout Sessions through the day focused on themes such as Getting Started, Taking Off, Managing Growth, and Going Global.

Governor Perry sent a recorded message, saying that “these forums will help ensure business owners have the tools necessary to survive and thrive.”

The Luncheon program included a presentation by Goldman Sachs on their 10,000 Small Businesses program, of which several in the audience had taken advantage. This was followed by Secretary of State John Steen, speaking on services of his office, and the advantages of conducting business in the state of Texas. Calley Graves of the Workforce Solutions Gulf Coast reviewed services available from her organization for employers.

The Consuls presented a panel discussion on opportunities to do business on a global basis, with insight into each of their countries.

The afternoon was taken with additional Breakout Sessions. Some of the speakers and discussion leaders were from the Houston ICC chamber, including Kirby Sanford, Alejandro Del Valle, and Jon Higgins.

When not in a formal session, attendees could visit with booths and displays from sponsors and service organizations. About 35 booths were set up and staffed with representatives that shared information on their services, and made contact for additional follow-up with business owners that were interested in their expertise.

Following lunch, Secretary of State John Steen presented a number of businesses with Texas State Awards, including two from the Houston ICC chamber membership.