New northeast Columbia chamber promotes business growth

Jeanne Reynolds photos.

Dozens of northeast Columbia entrepreneurs gathered at Converspace in the Village at Sandhill Tuesday morning to network and pick up tips on how to grow their businesses.

The meeting was part of the newly formed Columbia Chamber Northeast Connection, launched two months ago to advocate for small businesses in the northeast, provide a forum for networking and education, and promote growth.

“A lot of northeast businesses expressed concern to us about a lack of focus on business development in this part of Columbia, and that there wasn’t a strong connection to downtown,” said Henri Baskins, executive vice president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. “We thought if we give someone a place to come that’s within 15 minutes of their business, where they can gather ideas and get motivated, they’ll take advantage of that.”

About 30 to 60 business owners have been participating in CCNC events, according to the chamber. Today’s group included those involved in banking, insurance, advertising, catering, restaurants, home security, financial planning, car rentals, politics and nonprofits.

Guest speaker Ron Harvey, vice president of Global Core Strategies & Consulting, advised attendees to grow their businesses by having the mindset of a roadside service.

“People don’t call us when we want them to — they call us when they need us,” he said. “Make sure when a person walks away from you, they know when to call you, what to call you for, and how to reach you.”

“People buy when it’s urgent,” he added. “As entrepreneurs we need to be really good at finding out what’s urgent for other people and organizations.”

CCNC will host a partner engagement event at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 20 at R2i2, Richland School District Two’s Institute of Innovation at 763 Fashion Drive in Sandhill. The group’s next meeting will be 8 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20 at Converspace.

Categories: Business, Columbia, Richland County