Written by Rhonda Abrams, featured on Costco Connection Magazine
Small businesses have long been the backbone of their communities. Small businesses support local charities, Little League, food drives, school fundraisers and more. Most small-business owners don’t have to be told to be charitable-they already are. But being charitable is just one part of the wave of interest and increasing demand for businesses to be socially responsible.
In addition to focusing on the bottom line, being socially responsible is a smart part of a company’s strategy for success.
Create an inclusive workplace with fair pay.
Donate a portion of profits. Choose an organization and make it clear a small percentage of your pre- or post-profit sales will go to that cause.
Think and work sustainably. Look for ways your business can reduce waste, consume less energy and lower its carbon footprint.
Donate time. A good way to build team morale as well as contribute to your community is to have your employees volunteer-on paid company time-for a good cause.
Donate products or services to causes you believe in.
This article is written by two chamber executives from the Texas coast who have shared many years together in the same office but now get to share on a different level. The mentee has been at the helm of the Portland Chamber of Commerce (Texas) for a little more than a year. Prior to serving in Portland, she worked at the Rockport-Fulton Chamber (Texas) for 13 years. The mentor has led the Rockport-Fulton Chamber for almost three decades. The two communities are 25 miles apart.
The pitch competition
is back and by popular demand we have significantly extended the timeline to
apply for the pitch. WE are in full swing to find the next start-up winner in
Delaware. If you think your start-up has the right stuff, then please apply now.
Not sure whether you
should apply? We think it is a no-brainer if you are a start-up under 5 years
old, but we will break it down for you. Here are five reasons you should apply
to compete in the Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition.
$10,000 Cash Grand
Prize and other additional in-kind services
What can we say? Cash is king and for a start-up $10,000 can help jump start your business.
2. Brand Awareness
Gain exposure for your business.
3. Find possible mentors for you and your business.
The judges that will be listening to your pitch are already mentors out in the community and have demonstrated their potential to help businesses. They can connect you with people who can be beneficial in supporting you such as other mentors, business partners, or advisors.
4. Perfect your business plan pitch
Take every opportunity to practice your pitch over and over and over again.
5. Receive input from professionals on your business plan and pitch
Feedback can be hard, but it’s good. The
judges are there to help you progress and grow.
And one extra bonus
just in case by now we still haven’t convinced you it’s worth applying…
It won’t cost you a thing to apply. So you have nothing to lose.
The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) began as an initiative that came out of the NCC Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council (EDC). In 2008, the EDC saw a need for a place to help startup businesses from failing in the first 5 years and a vision that would nurture a strong and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as build jobs and revenue for New Castle County and Delaware.
At the time, the EEC was the first and only incubator in the state and while it is a separate entity from the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, the two entities work hand and hand with each other to partner with resources, events, and making connections for its members. The EEC continues to expand its programs by leveraging the NCC Chamber of Commerce resources, facilities, and initiatives.
The EEC is not just about cost-effective space for young businesses; it is more about one-on-one mentoring and the connections that we can facilitate for growing businesses. The EEC attracts everything from the traditional main street businesses to fintech startups, with programs that range from pure co-working space with business amenities to more comprehensive programs, with one-on-one mentoring. Each business moves at its own pace with guidance that helps them focus on the needs and skills that will help them take their business to the next level.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, about two-thirds of businesses survive at least 2 years and about half of that survive at least 5 years**. In addition, most entrepreneurs will attest that starting a business can be very lonely. The EEC works to help decrease those numbers by offering specialized services and mentoring. Does it work? Historically, International Business Innovation Association member incubators have reported that 87%* of all graduate firms are still in business.
The EEC is unlike most incubators in
the country right now. It is quite normal for a chamber to offer support to
business incubators, but it is very unusual for a chamber to embed its own
home-grown program inside the existing chamber of commerce. Research shows that there are fewer than 10
programs like this among the International Business Innovation Association*.
The EEC has found that by being co-located with the NCC Chamber of Commerce,
its clients work in close proximity to practical business people doing business
everyday and have the capability to network with them to help understand that
building relationships is so important. This affiliation is one of the many
reasons that makes the EEC unique from other incubators in the area.
The EEC has one full-time certified
mentor that works directly with each business to help develop business skills
and hold each business accountable to the tasks they need to do to keep their
Young businesses can
enter the coworking plus, business accelerator or resident program. Businesses
that are older but still need some help can take advantage of the coworking or
coworking plus programs.
Since its inception, the EEC has
worked with 42 companies, while they were in the incubator, these 42 companies
have generated $62 million in revenue and created over 200 jobs in the county.
For more information about the EEC
programs, please call the NCC Chamber of Commerce at 302-737-4343.
The EEC began as an initiative that came out of the NCC Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council (EDC). In 2008, the EDC saw a need for a place to help baby businesses from failing in the first 5 years. The EEC’s vision and mission is to develop business skills for early staged businesses so that they can grow and generate jobs with a sustainable and scalable business model. The EEC is a 501(c)3, separate entity from the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. However, the two entities work hand and hand with each other to partner with resources, events, and making connections for its members. The EEC continues to expand its programs by leveraging the NCC Chamber of Commerce resources, facilities, and initiatives. One of the initiatives the EEC does is to create business growth workshops and seminars that are designed to focus on critical skills needed to develop value propositions, product and business marketing, and sales. Each workshop has a networking portion and hands on experiences so that each type of business can walk away with skills that they can apply to their business right away.
The beauty of these
workshops, like in running your business, is that there is no set beginning,
and no end. Based on the situation or opportunity, you jump right in and work
towards a solution. And, nothing happens in a vacuum. Everything you do, every
decision you make is connected to something else in the business. It’s all
about consistency: consistency in your brand, in your message, in your
execution. The key is the process you take. Each topic offers a strategic and
hands-on context that allows business owners and their appropriate employees a
chance to learn from business professionals, on how to work smarter,
not harder, to grow the business.
There are two types of Business Growth Workshops/Seminars. Our interactive Growth Wheel Workshopsuse a variety of worksheets and tools that focus on making decisions and taking action. The Growth Wheel® is a toolbox built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs and is available to Growth Wheel Certified Business Advisors and Educators. It was designed around the observation that all businesses, regardless of industry, size or life stage, have four common and consistent challenges: they must create and maintain an attractive Business Concept, build a strong Organization behind it, develop lasting Client Relations, and do so while maintaining profitable Operations. The Growth Wheel’s systematic approach helps entrepreneurs build their businesses through an action-oriented process that stays true to the way most entrepreneurs think and work.
Each Growth Wheel workshop is complemented by our “Learn
with the Experts” Seminars led by industry and subject
matter experts. Our Learn with the Experts Seminars are designed to bring
together Growth Wheel® learning with real world practice. The EEC hosts experts
that illustrate how lessons, strategies, decisions, and tactics discussed
during Growth Wheel workshops are or can be applied in the entrepreneurial,
business and corporate world. These experts range in backgrounds and expertise,
including business, academic and professional.
Both workshop types are not accredited
business education workshops. These workshops are business growth training workshops
for business owners, managers, and all employees of small and mid-size
businesses. Anyone can attend these workshops, however EEC and Chamber members
receive discounted rates.
If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner in the
tri-state area, you should attend the 2nd Annual Delaware Entrepreneurial
Summit presented by the Emerging Enterprise Center and Small Business
Development Center on April 10.
This full day event is packed with quality content, information
and resources for those looking to build, connect, and grow as entrepreneurs
and business owners.
Whether you are thinking of starting a business, a start-up,
or an established small business that is looking to grow, the Entrepreneurial
Summit has got you covered. But if that’s not enough, here are 5 more reasons
why you should be there:
1. Workshops and Panel Discussions – Whether you’re looking to sell your product, win over customers, or partner with new businesses, the Entrepreneurial Summit has you covered with workshops in two tracks. The technical/science track is geared specifically for those start-ups or small businesses that are in high tech fields while the alternative track is geared towards the more traditional entrepreneur.
2. Networking – Network with over 100 entrepreneurs, small business owners, venture capitalists, resources and professionals in the tri-state area about developing your business.
3. Awards Luncheon – The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce and the Emerging Enterprise Center are always looking to recognize those achievers and at this event we look forward to announcing the Entrepreneur of the Year and the Entrepreneurial Advocate of the Year.
4. Keynote Speaker – Come and hear from our keynote speaker and learn about his/her route to entrepreneurial success.
5. Delaware and tri-state area Resources Tabletop Expo – Meet and have one-on-one conversations with resources that are available to entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their businesses.
Social Enterprises was founded in the US in 2015. It is a company to give consultancy to entrepreneurs and investors who want to invest in the US. People know that in 2016 world trade amounted to 16 billion dollars. The US has 3.9 billion dollars and 24 percent of world trade. Thanks to Social Enterprises, more than 250 companies were established in the USA since 2015 to take advantage of the opportunities the US offers. These small-scale companies are entering the world market by opening up to the US market. More than 300 hundred entrepreneurs and investors came to the US to found their companies. Social Enterprises, in other words, is a bridging company that open the US’ doors to Europe.
Having considered that there are many companies in the world, it is a fact that business consultant firms are needed to make them more successful. According to official records, there are about 200 million companies in the world. 80 percent of them are local, and 70 percent of them want to open up to the world. Social Enterprises takes part here. It is serving its customers in many ways to transfer their companies from being local to global, from opening a bank account to accountant services and any other operations without any intermediary to customers who want to establish a business. It does not only set up a company in the US, but it also provides services to legal counselling by delivering institutionalisation of companies.
On the other hand, the institutionalisation of the companies is impossible before understanding the US system well. The founders of Social Enterprises, Samet Oynamış and Fatih Pekar, are aware that consulting firms that have not been integrated into the US market cannot solve the US system by watching from the outside, and they experienced themselves firstly by entering into the US business system itself and giving information to entrepreneurs. The founders are now encouraging and consulting many enterprises from all around the world to convey their experiences. Moreover, Social Enterprises is trying to be integrated to e-world. The founders are focusing on e-government systems, services and e-government solution systems.
Furthermore, Social Enterprises directs software and technology companies to “International Soft Landing Program” focused on providing companies from the tech and innovative space the opportunity to learn about doing business instead of Silicon Valley of San Francisco. Participants in the program will receive exposure to key areas including marketing, sales and so on. These courses the ones which entrepreneurs have to know about. For example, for “must-known” issues, Social Enterprises highly recommends the Delaware Emerging Enterprise Center to entrepreneurs. This centre is a professional business incubator that helps start-up businesses learn entrepreneurial skills. Its business growth workshops are designed to improve critical business skills necessary for start-up and growing companies.
Finally, Social Enterprises provides consultancy services to all business people from Europe to the US through their partnerships in America, their own experiences and business visions. Social Enterprises invites from Europe to the US.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) was born because of the belief by the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (NCCCC) that the same philosophy applies to the success of new businesses. Creating a nurturing environment in which early stage businesses could grow, develop and succeed was part of the vision in establishing the EEC. But the NCCCC also recognized the need to nurture the entrepreneurial eco-system by engaging and leveraging the great work done by a variety of organizations in place to support small businesses.
The EEC has grown from a NCCCC Venture, a key initiative of the Economic Development Council (EDC), to one that has continued to produce solid results. The EDC is a partnership between the New Castle County Government, Private Businesses and the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. In a little over 10 years, the EEC has worked with 34 companies, generated $61.4 Million in Revenues and employed 201 people. These results don’t happen alone. Both the Chamber and the EEC has actively reached out to the entrepreneurial community to partner on efforts to create awareness among small businesses and budding entrepreneurs and let them know that they are not alone; there are resources available to help them.
One of those resources is the New Castle County’s Open for Business. This is a monthly Open House event, where start-ups, small, and mid-size businesses can come and get their questions answered. Organizations, including the Small Business Administration, New Castle County Purchasing, Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and other small business organizations come together to be available to businesses and to share information amongst themselves. Entrepreneurs, innovators, and interested community members from New Castle County and the surrounding region meet with over 16 resources to learn who can help them.
Join us on the fourth Thursday of each month from 9:00 am – 11:00 am for our Open for Business sessions held at 920 Justison Street and meet with representatives from our partner organizations. Collectively, these organizations provide a range of services that help start-ups advance their business model, reach potential customers, land government contracts, secure loans, meet state regulatory requirements and generally mentor entrepreneurs striking out on their own for the first time. Come join our entrepreneurial village, the fourth Thursday of every month to network and to learn from resources in Delaware that are here to help you.
Written by Dora Cheatham, Program Manager, Emerging Enterprise Center
Beating out eleven other startup companies, and despite tough competition, SAS Nanotechnologies cruised into the no. 1 position to win the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition—now in its 6th year and with a Grand Prize totaling over $16,000 in cash and services.
SAS Nanotechnologies won this year’s award with their proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the case of surface scratch or damage. Founded by Sumedh Surwade, and growing out of his PhD research, the technology was recently awarded an NSF SBIR grant to further develop the technology. Dr. Surwade is already in conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing and is considering additional routes to market, including manufacturing in Delaware. Dr. Surwade plans on using his winnings to purchase testing equipment that will speed up product commercialization by reducing the time and cost of testing from 10 days to 3 hours.
For the second time this year, the Emerging Enterprise Center, Delaware’s first small business incubator located at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, partnered with New Castle County Government, as well as multiple sponsors, to offer the prize package which included:
Cash prize of $10,000 from the New Castle County NCC Innovates Program
$2,000 business startup and bookkeeping package from SC Associates
$1,400 in IT services from Info Solutions
6 month membership in the Emerging Enterprise Center Virtual Incubation Program (valued at $1,800)
New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Package (valued at $1,400)
One year membership in World Trade Center Delaware (valued at $395)
One year membership in New Castle County Chamber of Commerce (valued at $350)
Each applicant was judged based on a combined score of both their written application and oral pitch. Judging criteria included business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and soft skills. Three finalists were then selected to pitch before a live audience and a new panel of judges at the Emerging Enterprise Center Luncheon which was held at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington. The three finalists included SAS Nanotechnologies, D150 Fueling and Smart Kidz Club.
The Grand Prize winner was selected based on a combined judge/audience vote (85%/15%). The judges included former Swim with the Sharks winner Amira Idris (Thera-V), Dr. Daniel Young (Goldey Beacom College), Sam Waltz (Strategic Capital & Business Counsel) and Dr. Janet Reed (Potter Anderson Corroon, LLP).