Deadlines approaching for Chamber programs

By: By Laura Deans - Contributing columnist

By Laura Deans

Contributing columnist

The Chamber office is gearing up for the many 2015 Chamber events. In August we will be offering the Leadership Clinton Sampson development program. This is an eight month program designed to provide leaders broad exposure to issues and opportunities facing Sampson County as well as meet our need for the active involvement of diverse, informed and responsible leaders. The program year begins in August with a retreat and ends in May with a graduation program. One day each month between September and April is devoted to exploring a specific aspect of Sampson County: Agriculture, Economic Development, Criminal Justice, Local Government, State and Federal Government and Health and Human Services. Look for the brochures coming soon, and with only 12 spaces available each year, I encourage you to submit your application today.

The Small Business Center and the Chamber are very excited to continue the wonderful partnership already in place. There are many seminars and events coming to the Small Business Center and the Chamber. Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First observed on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to shop locally. Leading up to Small Business Saturday, we want to make sure our business owners in the community are well prepared and excited for this great day. Therefore, the Small Business Center and the Chamber have put together some wonderful seminars to gear up for it. For more information about the seminars, that will be posted soon, please contact the Small Business Centers, Amanda Bradshaw, or the Chamber office.

I am excited to introduce to you a new opportunity to foster a place of growth for business owners in Sampson and Duplin County. Sampson Community College’s and James Sprunt Community College’s Small Business Centers will be hosting the new initiative titled “B2B OpenMeet”. This opportunity provides a neutral and supportive space welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face as a business owner. There will be two key roles played out on this stage. The business owner will be the first role, and the panel of members in the community selected by their expertise in business, and ones that offer area business owners effective communications that will only help to build their strengths and identify areas of weakness with possible resolution. As a brief outline, during the first Wednesday of each month two invited presenters will give a six-minute presentation of their choice about their businesses and its challenges. Members of the panelist board will have twenty-minutes to creatively bounce ideas and offer constructive feedback to the presenter. Look out for the first “B2B OpenMeet” coming to Sampson Community College on August 5th from 9am to 10am.

Lastly, applications have already been made, and ready for mail outs for the 2015 Business Showcase taking place on November 5 this year. I also encourage you to consider taking part in the Business Showcase, booth space is limited, therefore make sure you reserve your spot as soon as possible.

As always, I encourage you to shop local and get involved within the Chamber and community. For more information about the many fall events, visit our website at or call 910-592-6177 and let the Chamber work for you!

Laura Deans is executive director of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce.

Laura Deans is executive director of the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce.