Businesspeople meet and greet in Bay Ridge

A large cross-section of southwest Brooklyn’s business communitybumped elbows and shared insights at the first annual Bay Ridge andBensonhurst Small Business Workshop and Networking Event, held atthe Bay Ridge Manor on Thursday, October 14.

Organized by the Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst Preservation Alliance, acoalition of nine local retail corridors, the event featuredseminars on email marketing, choosing business promotions, how tofinance a small business, and how to develop business improvementdistricts. The event was followed by a networking reception.

It also featured speakers from successful businesses andnetworking groups such as Constant Contact, ValPak, BusinessNetworking International (BNI), NYC Business Solutions, and TheHome Reporter/Sunset News. Sponsors and supporters wereNorthfield Bank, The Home Reporter and The Blue GriffinStudio.

The fact that it focuses on small businesses is key becausesmall businesses run the economy in this and other neighborhoods,said Councilmember Vincent Gentile while browsing exhibitor tables.If a small business hurts, the neighborhood hurts. It’s good for acommunity to talk to one another.

Networking in general is not unique, but with [neighborhoodsin] southern Brooklyn, communities tend to be very close-knit andactive, [while not] knowing one another well enough to support oneanother, said BNI’s Tim Houston, who spoke on the promotions panelwith The Home Reporter‘s Co-Publisher Joshua Schneps andValPak’s Sean Conaghan. So, building bridges [must] beaccomplished.

The long-term goal, said Jim Clark, president of the Bay RidgeFifth Avenue BID and a member of the Alliance’s board of directors,is to have an annual event where businesses can come and savemoney by working together.

I came because we need more of these things, agreed localactivist Larry Morrish. We need to get people’s attention for thesake of the merchants.

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