Last week I attended a seminar sponsored by the SBA in conjunction with a job fair created by Congressman David Scott. When I signed up for the event, I did so in order to increase my knowledge regarding entrepreneurship. I attended webinars from SBA the week prior and that sparked my interest to go learn more in person. The webinars that I attended were about women-owned businesses and how to gain access to Government contracts. So, I knew that I would need to take my notebook and be prepared to take a lot of notes for the seminar.
The seminar was held on a Friday from 9 am until 2 pm at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, Georgia. There were two tracks of the seminar. Track 1 (Go From Unemployed to Self Employed) was for people who have been in business for 2 years or less. Track 2 (Take Your Business From Surviving to Thriving) was for businesses that have been up and running for more than 2 years.
I went to two of the 3 sessions in Track 2. Although I have only been in business for 1 year, I felt that I could gain more information from the more experienced groups than the beginner group. My decision was based on the offered sessions and I cannot say that if the Track 1 sessions were more beneficially appealing to me that I would not have stayed there the entire time. Nevertheless, this short day only gave brief insights. You could easily spend an entire day in each session as its own seminar.
Doing Business with the Federal Government Track II.
Tanzee Hall-Jones gave the presentation on this topic. She discussed the need for market research, the award process, negotiations, contracts, and execution. Basically, the Government has money already set aside to spend with small businesses. The 2015 Federal Government Spending information is available in the Federal Procurement Database System. Within that 23% of Government spending, 5% is allocated for Women-owned small businesses.
Tanzee shared with us that all businesses need to be registered with the Secretary of State, have a D-U-N-S number, register with SAM, DSBS, agencies (as necessary), FPDS, and Fed Biz Opps in order to have full access to Government contracts and information regarding them. She talked about getting certifications, self certifying, and how certifications help acquire contracts. SBA provides a great deal of FREE training on certifications. They do not give you the information and tell you to figure it out, they walk you through the process.
She also mentioned that you still have to market your business. You will need to research the agencies that would need you. After that, you need to identify their procedures, develop your marketing strategy and go from there. Know who needs you and who you need.
Start Up Basics Track I.
Nakia Melecio was the presenter here. He works directly with S.C.O.R.E.. He gave a slew of information and knowledge. He suggests that we join a trade association. He broke down the difference between a business plan and a business model. The business plan was described as the “how” and the business model as the “branding”. He encourages us to set money aside for growth and prepare to go global. He discussed the need for self-care for entrepreneurs. He made mention to building a network of people who will hold you accountable for the things that you don’t want to do.
He briefly touched on non-profit organizations and the best way to start one. Here is a clip of his advice for non-profits.
Opportunities in Film and Entertainment Panel Track II
This was the session that I was most excited about honestly. I am very interested in learning more about writing scripts, screenplays, and so on. I have written a few songs but I want to expand and learn how I can really break into Entertainment industry as a writer.
Juddifier Pearson moderated. The panel consisted of Craig Dominey, Nelson Burke, Jim Tripp-Haith, and Winsome Sinclair. One of the main reasons that Georgia is the third location choice in the industry is because of the tax credit that production companies receive to shoot here. There are opportunities for dry cleaners, caters, lumber yards, hotels, animal breeders, car rental locations/dealerships, photographers, casting directors, actors, and so on and so on. The panel said it more than a few times, it is a network. You have to be in to get in and you have to get in to be in.
Some tips and gems that were dropped were to become very familiar with the literature. Production weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Reel Crew, Georgia Film and TV Source Book, OZonline.tv are just a few. They encourage you to learn where shoots are happening and how to get your foot in the door. Be sure to have professional headshots and professional websites. Learn who the production coordinator is and how they can help you. Learn the various roles behind the scenes that directly connect to what you are trying to do and find out who they are. Reach out to the or arrange an impromptu, “run in”.
The revenue from films and entertainment in Georgia topped 7 billion dollars and the fiscal year has not ended yet. Your business has to be in a position to rake in some of this dough. The budgets for some of these movies is well over half a million dollars for a “small” film and over one million for “large” films. In order for the major production companies to receive the credit they have to utilize Georgia residents and businesses. What do you offer that can be added to the vendor list of the next big production?