Small businesses spotlighted at luncheon
Local shops and their owners were the subject of praise at a luncheon Thursday.
The “Small Business Salute” event, which was held at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, aimed to celebrate “the backbone of the Lake Houston Area economy,” per its invitation.
In his speech, Mike Ross, Insperity’s manager of corporate innovation and development, looked into the history of saluting and found a central theme of paying homage and giving acclaim. He said it was “ironic” to reserve this gesture for those running small businesses since they don’t do it for fame and honor.
“They didn’t wake up one day and say ‘I’m gonna start a company so people will cheer my name’,” he said. “Usually you start it by saying, ‘I’m gonna make a difference in the world,’ or ‘I’m gonna make a difference in my life,’ or ‘I’m gonna make a difference in this community.’”
He also pointed out the benefits these businesses bring including job creation and area betterment, all of which are products of an entrepreneur’s courage, passion and grit.
Ross ended his speech by issuing two challenges to the business owners in attendance, which are to “never stop learning” — and help employees plus community members to learn as well — and to “look for opportunities to give back.” He cited his concurrent role as a professor of entrepreneurship at Brigham Young University-Hawaii as the reason to do this.
“We’re taking off our hats to you,” he said.
Similarly, the event’s second featured speaker, Miguel Lopez, executive director of the Lone Star College Small Business Development Center (SBDC), also had two items to give to small-business owners in his speech. They were “networking” and “support.”
“Think about this the next time. You spent a dollar at a small business: About 68 cents of every dollar that you spent goes back to the community,” he said.
Last Saturday was the eighth iteration of the American Express-created Small Business Saturday event, designed to drive sales and guests to local and non-chain shops. Jenna Armstrong, president and CEO of the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce, said in an email on Nov. 21 that it “makes sense” to help businesses that give back.
Prior to this, Lopez mentioned the brutal realities of being a modestly sized businesses — how many operations are self-driven and it would mainly be cash-flow issues that prompt closure — and commended owners who managed to overcome them.
He also used the information to raise awareness of his center and its role to assist businesses whenever required.
The luncheon concluded with the handing of the 2018 Haden McKay M.D. Citizen of the Year award to Jess Fields Sr., owner of Rosewood Funeral Home. His son, Fields Jr., was also in attendance.