Friday, November 14, 2014

Small Business Saturday, November 29

In 2010, American Express founded Small Business Saturday to help businesses with their most pressing need — getting more customers. The day encourages people to shop at small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The single day has grown into a powerful movement, and more people are taking part than ever before. This year, the big day is Saturday, November 29. 

Promotional Support for Your Small Business
More and more people support Small Business Saturday each year— that means it could be one of your biggest, busiest days yet. Free marketing materials and more can help get people to stop by your business. You can personalize marketing materials to promote your business for Small Business Saturday even if you don't accept American Express® Cards. Materials include printable signage, Shop Small logos and infographic, email templates and sample social media posts, free online ads promoting Small Business Saturday, printable post card and a digital banner. There's even more available if you are an American Express merchant.  

Share Where You'll Shop Small
Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide and celebrating the Shop Small® Movement.  Small Business Saturday is a day to shop at stores owned by our friends and neighbors, and do our part for the businesses that do so much for us.  On November 29, let's get out
and Shop Small in Northwest Arkansas!   Show your support and share the following on social media to help us build buzz!

Learn More
Shoppers can receive special offers and information on how to support independent businesses in their area. Small business owners have access to innovative marketing tools and social media resources to help them connect with their customers. Visit to learn more about how your business may become a part of this Shop Small Movement.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

2015 Chamber University Call for Presenters & Content

The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Council launched the new
and improved Chamber University program in 2014 with great success and are now looking for
subject matter experts (SMEs) to present educational content during next year's seminars. Chamber University is a series of professional development seminars offered throughout the year. The program
is designed to educate the small business community in Northwest Arkansas by providing SMEs to teach on "hot-button" issues facing small businesses. Chamber University Seminars help small businesspeople start, run and grow their business. Select seminars are now also offered in Spanish through the Chamber's Minority Business Development division.

Share Your Expertise. Gain Exposure for Your Business.
Last year over 300 attended Chamber University seminars including FYI Brown Bag Lunches and Spanish Seminar Series. As 2015 approaches there is a need for educational content. Speakers and topics are now being selected for the Chamber University Seminars and the new Sunrise Seminar Series that will replace the FYI Brown Bag Lunches.  Relevant business topics may be presented either as a multi-hour topic or one-hour session.   If you have an interest in being a presenter in 2015, please contact with proposed idea(s) by the end of November.

Monday, November 10, 2014

October Event Connects Educators to Local Manufacturer's Needs

By: Brad Phillips
Vice-President Marketing Communications

Workforce Development:

Workforce education and skilled labor supply are quickly becoming "hot button" workforce development issues around Northwest Arkansas as well as across the nation. The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce is working hard to address these issues which represent important factors
that contribute to the continued future growth of our area. On October 14, the Chamber's K2J (Kindergarten-to-Job) Connect event brought area educators together with local manufacturers to discuss and learn more about these issues and to showcase what modern manufacturing careers
are all about.

Education System Part of the Skilled Labor Solution
K2J Connect was hosted by Kennametal in Rogers, a company that delivers productivity to customers seeking peak performance in demanding environments by providing innovative custom and standard wear-resistance solutions. The event offered the 20 educators in attendance (including principals, teachers, college professors, and guidance counselors) an opportunity to learn about the workforce needs in our area, tour the facility, and have an open conversation with local manufacturers about how the skilled labor issue may be addressed through the education system. Raymond Burns, President/CEO of the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce stressed the importance of events like this saying, “Workforce issues impact all industries across Rogers and Northwest Arkansas and our job at the Chamber is to help address them and find solutions before they become a serious problem.”

Educators Learn Importance of Manufacturing Careers
The K2J Connect attendees started the day by hearing from Mike Harvey, COO of the Northwest Arkansas Council who works closely with the region's chambers of commerce to help carry out the mission of delivering high-quality job growth. Harvey spoke on the types of workforce in Northwest Arkansas and importance of trained workers with skills that area employers need to fill open positions.

He pointed out that helping employers fill these needs will help grow the local economy. Harvey also showed statistics of job growth in Northwest Arkansas over the past 20 years and explained what fields had experienced the most job growth and most job losses.  His presentation was very well received by the educators and enlightening. For example, one educator commented that he had not thought much about the future impact of our current workforce retiring in 10 to 20 years and the need it creates for younger workers to eventually replace those that are retiring, especially in manufacturing.  Another educator commented about the opportunities available in manufacturing, “After seeing that the average wages for these manufacturing jobs in the area are so high, I think I’m in the wrong career.”  It's a testament to the new, modern manufacturing careers available to young people today.

C.E. Murrell, Plant Manager of Kennametal, took the educators on a plant tour to show that modern manufacturing is much different than many people believe.  One educator came back from the tour and said, “It was so clean and orderly.  I could have worn a white dress, walked through the entire facility, and come back without a spot on me.”  Another educator commented on the impressive machinery found throughout the plant and said that he didn’t realize the high tech nature of manufacturing today.

Manufacturers Express Workforce Needs
Following the educators' tour, executives from Rogers-based manufacturers came in for a facilitated small group discussion with the educators. The dialogue between the manufacturers and educators focused on the needs that employers have and the difficulties faced in filling open positions. The educators talked about what they could do to help get students more interested in manufacturing-related careers and the types of positions that are available throughout Northwest Arkansas. Whitney Yoder, Vice President of Development for the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce said the event was successful at starting the conversation, “It was great to see ideas being exchanged and discussions taking place between the manufacturers and educators. This is a huge step in the right direction for addressing these issues facing our area.”

The K2J Connect event is a Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce initiative and a very big
“Thank You” is in order to Kennametal for hosting the first event at their facility.  Regarding the event, Burns noted that, “This is just the beginning of our process and more of these types of events will continue to be done addressing workforce development needs of the region.”  Yoder added, “The feedback we received from the attendees was exceptional and demonstrated an interest from both educators and manufacturers in doing more of these K2J Connect events in the future.”
If you or your business are interested in hosting a future K2J Connect event or having educators and students tour your facility and speak to you about your workforce needs, contact Whitney Yoder or Steve Cox at (479) 636-1240.