On Wednesday, March 23 the Office of Small Business Affairs (OSBA) brought together and celebrated international and small businesses at the Macon City Auditorium.
“We have a rich history of welcoming new industries and businesses from around the world to our community and then supporting them as they grow and expand,” said Mayor Lester Miller. “But, like many other things, we can’t let what we’ve done in the past stop us from doing more in the future. We must find ways to support our local businesses now as they grow and find ways to help more open.”
“This first International Summit is another step in the Macon-Bibb Office of Small Business Affairs efforts to be more inclusive in its programming. The diversity of our community (including our businesses) is our strength. Working together, we can ensure that our future will include more intentional opportunities for people of all backgrounds and Macon-Bibb truly moving forward together. said OSBA Director Charise Stephens.
There was a special recognition of YKK as the first Japanese company in Georgia and for being part of the Macon-Bibb community for 50 years. YKK Corporation purchased 54 acres in Ocmulgee Park to build its National Manufacturing Center in 1972, and it has grown to 300 acres. Currently, there are more than 600 Japanese-owned companies in the Peach State.
There were remarks from Mayor Miller, Community Affairs Executive Director Dr. Henry Ficklin, Industrial Authority Executive Director Stephen Adams, and Georgia International Trade Deputy Commissioner Mary Waters. There were also panel discussions where they talked about topics such as resources for local businesses, examples of small businesses and how they can do business internationally, survey distribution, and networking. Macon-Bibb’s Procurement Department was also there to help attendees learn about how to apply for government contracts.
Partners for the summit included Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority, the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, Middle Georgia Regional Library, International Trade Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the UGA Small Business Development Center.