(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Over a hundred local entrepreneurs and small business owners were in St. Joseph Wednesday morning networking, collaborating and educating.
It was the St. Joe Chamber of Commerce's and Missouri Western's Craig School of Business' Small Business Summit, which was held at the University's Fulkerson Center from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Attendees included everyone from entrepreneurs just starting out to more seasoned business professionals. Morning keynote speaker David Hensley, co-founder of Bar K in Kansas City, said there was something at the summit for people in all stages of their career.
"You can always find value in learning something from somebody who has a different business," Hensley said. "We're just honored to be a part of that community and to be invited here to meet with people and to network with them."
The event held multiple breakout sessions taught by local small business owners over topics like 'How to Diversify Your Sales Strategies,' 'H.A.V.E.-The Key to Success as it Applies to Entrepreneurs' and more.
Solutions Architect with Midwest Data Center John Norton said this was the first Small Business Summit he's attended, and added that being able to meet like-minded people is something that's beneficial even after the event ends.
"Definitely networking and, at the same time, figuring out who the business leaders are, whose brains to pick after the fact when you follow up and you sit down with them for coffee and really dig into what you're really wanting to do," Norton said.
Hensley added that speaking with other entrepreneurs is not only educational to others in the same field, but also inspiring.
"I think it also allows people to know they are not alone and that, you know, through hard work they can realize what they're working on and realize their dream," Hensley said.
The afternoon keynote speaker was Leroy Shatto with Shatto Milk Company in Osborn, Missouri. Vice President of Membership at the St. Joe Chamber of Commerce Natalie Redmond said Shatto's story of reviving a century-old farm and turning it into a local business fits the theme of the summit perfectly.
“It’s designed to be inspirational and fun and educational because we know small business is important to our community," Redmond said.
The Chamber said 120 people attended Wednesday's event, and added the summit has been an annual event for about 12 years.