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A helping hand for the smallest businesses

Chamber: Committee installs new officers, marks goals and accomplishments

Posted: January 7, 2011 9:23 p.m.
Updated: January 8, 2011 4:55 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Micro Enterprise Committee with the new chamber president and CEO at its installation ceremony of new officers on Friday. From left to right: Mario Galvez, outgoing chairman and new member coordinator; Terri Kingery, new president/CEO of the SCV Chamber of Commerce; Stephanie Graziano, incoming cha...

 

A committee of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to helping micro businesses — small firms with home-based operations or one to three employees, whose owners are so caught up in daily operations that they can find themselves isolated.

“Micro businesses lack resources and tend to work more inside their business than out of (them),” said Stephanie Graziano, new chairwoman of the chamber’s Micro Enterprise Committee. “This is a more efficient way to spend their time and money.”

Many business owners of embryonic or very small companies find themselves isolated due to the demands of their companies and lack of time to mix into the larger business community.

“They have fewer resources than the middle- or larger-sized businesses,” Graziano said. “By banding together to share knowledge and experience, the business owners develop relationships that become very beneficial.”

The chamber established its Micro Enterprise Committee in mid-2009 to help the growing number of such small businesses.

More than 80 percent of the chamber members have one to five employees, said chamber interim director Charlie Gill.

Incoming officers
The committee’s officers for 2011, who were installed Friday, include:

- Graziano, committee chairwoman and owner of EmbroidMe, a local custom embroidery and screen-printing company.

- Mario Galvez of New York Life Insurance, outgoing chairman and now member coordinator.

“Mario, and now, Stephanie spearhead a significant segment of the services the SCV Chamber offers to its members,” Gill said.

- Michael Remington of the investment firm Edward Jones will serve as the incoming vice chairman.

“My motto for this year is: ‘Don’t blame the economy,’” Graziano said at the installation ceremony.
Remington agreed.

“The theme for this year is that people are tired of being depressed. They are tired of not being successful. It’s time to do something different (with your business) and get out of your comfort zone.”

Accomplishments
Galvez said the organization increased its membership in the past year with an average of 25 members now attending the committee meetings.

“The meetings are not quite as intimidating to entrepreneurs who are new chamber members,” said the former chairman.

Meetings provide a smaller, more intimate group setting in which business owners can get to know each other on a personal basis, develop a rapport and get advice and support from each other. Smaller businesses share many common challenges.

Galvez said he would like to see the members pool their resources to buy marketing services and advertising space in the coming year, because businesses of this size often feel priced out of the market.

Goals
Graziano said small-business owners are so overwhelmed with running their businesses that they have very little time to get out and get involved.

“Being small is very time consuming. The Internet has given us multiple lifetimes of knowledge, but it takes time to maneuver through the jungle of resources,” Graziano said.

Her goals for the year include creating a pool of resources for micro businesses.

This year, she would also like to see the committee become more hands-on in addressing issues and challenges as small-business owners and develop meaningful discussions that would help members expand their own businesses.

“I also look forward to getting feedback from the members as to what would be the most helpful,” Graziano said.

The Micro Enterprise Committee is for chamber members who have three employees or less. The organization meets the first Friday of every month. More information can be found at: www.scvchamber.com.

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