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  • 06 May 2015
  • Kelly Clay

Small Biz Salute: Seattle Small Business Owners Celebrate the Importance of Mentoring

In celebration of National Small Business Week (May 4-8), The UPS Store launched a new campaign called Small Biz Salute, which recognizes small business owners for their hard work in their communities, as well as connects entrepreneurs to expand their networks, celebrate and support one another.

To kick things off, on Monday, May 4, The UPS Store honored Seattle’s small business owners by taking over a local coffee shop, Espresso Vivace, and giving away free coffee to all customers. Patrons smiled with their cup of joe in celebration of the local small business community. The UPS Store also hosted a free happy hour on Monday night.

A key learning that attendees took away from the event is that no matter where you are in your career, you can benefit from both mentorship and mentoring.

I was lucky enough to co-host Monday’s networking happy hour, which took place at Osteria La Spiga. What an amazing event! A very diverse group of small business owners attended, and I was thrilled to see that everyone started networking as soon as they arrived at the venue. And speaking of the venue, Osteria La Spiga was fantastic – great ambiance, delicious food, an open bar and a helpful staff who created an atmosphere that encouraged dynamic conversations and networking.

As a Seattle entrepreneur myself, I know firsthand how important it is for small business owners to network. At the event, I was able to discuss the significance of networking in my speech, as well as one-on-one with attendees throughout the night. I had the opportunity to share how my career and experiences have taught me that mentoring – as well as coaching – is vital for both personal and professional growth.

A key learning that attendees took away from the event is that no matter where you are in your career, you can benefit from both mentorship and mentoring others. This is exactly what Small Biz Salute is about – providing small business owners with special opportunities to make meaningful connections with other entrepreneurs in their communities. The Seattle small business owners who attended the happy hour networked with one another, shared best practices and gained valuable advice from small business experts in the Seattle community. Making these connections and meeting new mentors and mentees across the small business community plays a significant role in your success as an entrepreneur.

Dinner allowed the small business owners to meet one another and form groups where they were sitting, which fostered the sharing of ideas from different verticals and industries. These small business owners mentored each other on the spot and shared their perspectives from different fields and from all levels of experience.

The exclusivity of the Small Biz Salute event kept the crowd at the perfect size to enable strong, in-depth conversations with almost everyone. As a matter of fact, I overheard several potential business deals happening during the night. The entire evening allowed Seattle small business owners to come together in a fun, relaxed space and help one another, while also growing their own businesses and connections.

The Small Biz Salute happy hour event also brought together a great mix of the Seattle entrepreneur community – there was a wide variety of industries and expertise represented in the room. As the night went on, you could really feel the community and comradery in the room – everyone was open to sharing ideas and providing advice with one another, even if they had just met. It was really refreshing and a wonderful way to kick off the week-long Small Biz Salute events! My best wishes go out to the small business communities in Austin and Atlanta for their upcoming events this week. I was honored to be a part of this great opportunity in Seattle and would like to thank The UPS Store for a wonderful evening! The event strengthened our small business community and I know the connections between attendees will last far beyond Small Business Week.

If you’re unable to attend one of The UPS Store’s Small Biz Salute events, I encourage you to still show your support! Celebrate by sharing your favorite small businesses on social media using the hashtag #SmallBizSalute.

To learn more about The UPS Store’s Small Biz Salute campaign, visit www.theupsstore.com/smallbizsalute.

Kelly Clay is a writer and freelance lifestyle coach helping other freelancers learn to love their jobs — and their lives. She has contributed to dozens of publications including Forbes and VentureBeat. When she’s not blogging, she can be found cooking, reading, or hiking — usually a good cup of coffee in hand.

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