(FLINT, Mich. – Feb. 17, 2016) Entrepreneurs and small business owners can gain the knowledge and resources needed to start a business during the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce eTEAM’s ninth annual Jumpstart Conference.  This year’s conference will feature three new breakout sessions for prospective and fledgling business owners along with the annual awards luncheon to celebrate recent success stories.

Chemical Bank is the corporate sponsor of Jumpstart, which takes place Feb. 25 from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre, 5353 Gateway Centre in Flint.

Dan Crannie, Owner of Signs by Crannie, a full-service commercial sign company with plants in Michigan and Florida, will be the keynote speaker. The company employs 46 people who design, construct, install and service commercial signs throughout the U.S. and Canada. Last September, Signs by Crannie opened a new 52,000-square-foot facility in Flint Township and celebrated 30 years in business.

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our region, and Jumpstart provides the tools and insight for entrepreneurs to get started and grow,” said Chamber CEO Tim Herman. “We’re also extremely delighted that three dozen high school students from Grand Blanc and the Genesee Career Institute will participate in this year’s conference. This is a tremendous opportunity for teens to begin cultivating their entrepreneurial instincts and talents.”

In the same way businesses must adapt to new conditions so, too, has the eTEAM in organizing this year’s conference. Jumpstart has added three programs on branding, technology and food-based businesses to the roster of breakout sessions.

Jumpstart attendees will have the opportunity to participate in following breakout sessions:

  1. Branding for Beginners: 5 Essential Tips to Create and Spread Your Brand. Designed to share ideas about creating a brand identity for your business. .
  2. Technology Essentials for the 21st Century Business. An overview of the critical technology tools and equipment any business needs for success in the 21st century.
  3. Starting a food-oriented small business. This workshop will provide an array of information from labeling and licensing, to where products can be sold and much more.
  4. Finding and Keeping Talent. An overview of cover common mistakes new business entrepreneurs should avoid when acquiring talent, and recommendations for finding and keeping the best employees.
  5. What Does It Take to Get from Product Idea to Market? Insights on product development, prototyping, tools and resources available to take your idea from concept to creation.
  6. Meet the Lender: What to Expect. Learn what to expect and what’s involved in applying for a commercial bank loan, including SBA programs.

 The cost to participate in Jumpstart is $20 per person, which includes continental breakfast and lunch. Special student pricing is $5 for those who pre-register and $10 at the door (both require a valid students ID at check-in).  To register, visit www.flintandgenesee.org/jumpstart and for more information contact Karena Hamlet, Business Development Specialist for the Chamber at khamlet@flintandgenesee.org.

Jumpstart was created by the Chamber’s eTEAM to provide a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and small business owners to gain valuable information. In addition, the Spark Awards and the Rising Star Awards honor up-and-coming business owners on the basis of their growth trajectory and entrepreneurial success. Spark Awards are presented to new businesses and the Rising Star recognizes early stage businesses that have exhibited growth.

The eTEAM is a regional collaboration of entrepreneurial service providers working to connect local entrepreneurs and small businesses with resources to promote growth and success. eTEAM member organizations, include:  Michigan Small Business Development Center, City of Flint, GST Michigan Works! and Metro Community Development, in addition to many other service providers.