Loudoun has more than 10,000 small businesses, 100,000 small business employees and an upcoming week of events to help them all.
The Loudoun Department of Economic Development is organizing it’s sixth annual Small Business Week beginning May 15. The week-long event will include networking opportunities, workshops and seminars designed to educate, celebrate and accelerate the growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“It’s all about looking at the importance of small business and entrepreneurs to Loudoun’s growth and looking to provide an opportunity to the value they provide here,” said DED Small Business and Entrepreneur Manager Vanessa Wagner.
Loudoun has seen an increase in small businesses from 8,003 five years ago to 10,162 in the third quarter of last year, a 27 percent growth. Much of that growth has come in the craft beverage industry, technology and aviation sectors as well as through international development opportunities, all of which will be major focal points of this year’s event.
Major highlights include:
- May 15: A full-day conference from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Dulles Marriott in Sterling. There will be keynote speakers at the conference breakfast and lunch, plus 12 workshops and an afternoon reception.
- May 16: The signature event will feature a panel discussion with craft beer producers, which will be held at Smokehouse Live in Leesburg at 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and drink tickets will be available. The event includes a free screening of the film “Craft.”
- May 17: The “International Business in Loudoun” event at George Washington University in Ashburn. Almost one out of every four Loudoun residents was born outside the U.S., and many have started new businesses here. Several members of the international community will be on hand to offer expert advice on how to start and grow companies in Loudoun. Lunch will be provided.
- May 18: A catered mixer from 5:30 – 7 p.m. at ProJet Aviation in Leesburg. Members of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy will hold a trade show where attendees can learn about the students’ businesses and buy their products.
- May 19, The drone demo event which starts at 11 a.m. at The Campus in Sterling. Local drone experts will reveal the opportunities for breaking into this booming industry. Lunch will be provided to attendees.
- May 20-21: The Spring Farm Tour. Fifty farms and event venues will be open to public, offering fun, hands-on activities and fresh farm food for the whole family. Details about tour sites are online.
There are more workshops and networking events for startups and small business owners throughout the week in addition to those listed above. Full details, and information about the Small Business Week, are online or through the app store, available for Apple and Android products. All participants are asked to register in advance.