Office of Business Opportunities

May 2018

City of Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunities
celebrates Small Business Week



In observance of National Small Business Week, the City of Columbia Office of Business Opportunities along with Columbia Chamber and Richland County held a joint press conference on April 30, 2018, at Uptown on Main.

IMG_3055During the press conference, Mayor Pro Tem Tameika Isaac Devine presented a proclamation proclaiming the week of April 30 – May 5 as National Small Business Week.










During National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrated the 30 million small businesses that are engines to our national economy. SBA Administrator Linda McMahon visited small businesses on a four-state bus trip across the Southeast, highlighting the innovators and jobs creators that make our communities vibrant places to live, work and raise a family.

SBA Administrator Linda McMahon stopped in Columbia and held a press conference at the Forest Drapery and Upholstery Fabric Center, Inc. to highlight entrepreneurial success in South Carolina and celebrate America’s small businesses.


On May 2, 2018, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and Mayor Pro Tem Tameika Isaac Devine presented SBA Administrator Linda McMahon with a Key to the City during the Small Business luncheon at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. IMG_0806



Nearly 200 small business owners gathered for the Office of Business Opportunities’ 6th Annual Small Business Week Conference on Thursday, May 3, 2018, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Through workshops, guest speakers and networking, entrepreneurs afforded a chance to connect with innovative business leaders, who shared their insights, best practices, and tricks of the trade.

The Small Business Week Conference helped small business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs alike take their business to the next level. This annual conference covered the minor details that help small businesses grow.

Through the City of Columbia’s Small Business Week Conference, the Office of Business Opportunities highlighted the impact of the City’s outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“Today’s conference was a shining example of Envision Columbia focus area number five: Economic Prosperity Endless Possibilities,” said City Manager Teresa Wilson. “I’m very proud of our staff and the impact of this annual conference.” 

This year’s workshops included:

  • 5 Proven Strategies to Secure Corporate Partners
  • Go Sell Something: Creating a Process for Sales Success
  • Crosslinking Anglo and Latino Markets
  • The 4 C’s of Relationship-Based Social Networking
  • Promote Your Own Business at Little or No Cost



Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin welcomed the attendees to the Small Business Week Conference.




IMG_0895Office of Business Opportunities Director Melissa Lindler provided opening and closing remarks. She informed the attendees on what to expect from the Small Business Week Conference and expressed her appreciation to everyone for participating and attending the conference.IMG_1049









Angelique Rewers, ABC, APR, CEO, The Corporate Agent Angelique Rewers was the morning keynote speaker. 










Patrick Patterson, President, Global Partners for Fathers and Families Consulting, LLC Patrick Patterson focused on 5 Proven Strategies to Secure Corporate Partners










Tre Tailor, Media Marketing Strategist, Tailor Made Productions

Tre Tailor informed the attendees about Promoting Your Business at Little or No CostIMG_0997





IMG_0935Raul Anibal Cruz Vega, CEO, Cruz-Vega, LLC
Vanessa Mota, CEO, Mota Enterprises, LLC

Vanessa Mota & Raul Anibal Cruz Vega discussed Crosslinking Anglo and Latino Markets








Deb Mullen, President, Making You Memorable

Deb Mullen discussed the 4 C’s of Relationship-Based Social Networking










Dr. Kasie Whitener, President, Clemson Road Counseling  

Dr. Kasie Whitener motivated the attendees to Go Sell Something: Creating a Process for Sale Success










Anton J. Gunn, Leadership Expert, Author, Healthcare Executive, Top Gunn Coaching & Consulting

Anton Gunn was the afternoon keynote speaker.





During the afternoon portion of the conference, a panel discussion was held and moderated by Kevin “Big Redd” Felder, Station Manager Millennial FM 95.9. Panelists discussed Accessing Local, State, and Federal Procurement Opportunities.


The panelists were:

Melissa Lindler, Director, Office of Business Opportunities, City of Columbia

Michelle Abraham, State Director, SC Small Business Development Centers

Greg Davis, Director, Minority & Small Business Affairs, SC Department of Transportation

Pamela Green, Director, SC Division of Small and Minority Business Contracting and Certification

Richard “Gregg” White, District Director, SC District, U.S. Small Business Administration



Comments from Attendees:

  • Great keynote speeches.
  • More events like this – entrepreneur training!
  • The conference was great as is, the City of Columbia does everything first class!
  • Thank you City of Columbia
  • Looking forward to next year
  • Amazingly awesome.
  • Wanted to say that you all did an outstanding job securing speakers – both morning and afternoon speakers were phenomenal!!!


“The Office of Business Opportunities (OBO) would like to thank everyone that had an opportunity to attend the City of Columbia’s 6th Annual Small Business Week Conference,” said Melissa Lindler. “Understanding the many risks that every small business owner takes in pursuing their dreams, OBO is committed to providing training and networking opportunities that supports the innovative spirit of our small business community.  I would also like to give a special thanks to Angelo McBride, OBO Business Administrator, and the entire OBO team for all of the hard work and energy that they put forth collectively in planning this successful conference!” 


The City of Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunities will host an upcoming business workshop entitled Access to Capital Symposium: The Midland’s Financing Options For Small Businesses.

The Access to Capital Symposium is a lender matchmaker speed-networking event between lending organizations and small business owners. It provides small business owners with the opportunity to network and connect one-to-one with lenders. This is a unique opportunity designed to help small businesses assess their lending options in the most efficient way.

The event will take place on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln Street, Columbia, S.C. from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Interested small businesses and lender participants can register online at The cost of registration is $20. For additional information, please contact Angelo McBride at 803.545.3960.




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