BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Although the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges for small business owners, it’s also creating opportunities, something city leaders plan to emphasize during Birmingham’s Small Business Week.
The annual event begins Monday and lasts until Friday. One of the organizers said they thought about the pandemic with everything they planned for the week.
“Now more than ever, people are thinking of different ways to use their gifts, their skills and their talents,” said Alycia Levels-Moore, creator of ASL Creative Strategies, which organized Small Business Week. “And so (we’re) just providing a place and a space to be able to do that for people and provide tangible information that can help them along the journey.”
The week’s first event is a workshop led by REV Birmingham. It will focus on the importance of innovation during the pandemic. Taylor Clark, director of recruitment and business growth for REV, said she wants to help entrepreneurs and business owners take a positive approach to the pandemic. She said there’s always opportunity during tough economic times.
“This is a phenomenal time to launch and a phenomenal time to think about how you’re going to retool your business and develop a firmer foundation,” Clark said.
On Wednesday, entrepreneurs will hear from Black Girl Ventures, a Washington D.C.-based organization with a chapter in Birmingham. Its primary goal is to provide access to capital for Black and Brown women entrepreneurs. Shelly Bell, founder of the organization, will speak. Levels-Moore, who’s involved in the Birmingham chapter, said Bell will offer advice on how to confidently pitch a business and position its brand and story.
“When you get ready to introduce your business to someone, you have to know what it is, they have to know why you love it,” Levels-Moore said. “You have to be able to sell people on it, not only people, but also your customers. Once your customers know your why, know who you are, they’re more connected to your business than ever.”
Levels-Moore also said that now, more than ever, Black entrepreneurs should be pursuing their ideas because there’s more attention and support for them. She said there’s always been a need for Black businesses, but she hopes everyone will figure out how to support them right now.
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