Hundreds of local small business owners gathered at the City Club at FirstEnergy Stadium on Wednesday to network with other entrepreneurs and exchange ideas about how to achieve sustainable success in the Cleveland community.
Organized in conjunction with the Browns and JumpStart, the Small Business Training Camp included an afternoon of tailored workshops and panel discussions for small local minority owners who have sought to help the Browns through four JumpStart events. The “training camp” was the second of them and followed a Small Business Impact Program Showcase held at FirstEnergy Stadium on August 29.
“This is all very exciting,” said JumpStart Communications Director Vicki McDonald. “We’re really excited to be at FirstEnergy Stadium, and I think working with the Browns has been really meaningful for us. It’s helped us reach a whole new audience and really made our impact on supporting small business owners.” to increase.”
About 700 people signed up for the event Wednesday and spent time listening to other entrepreneurs who started businesses in Cleveland and even managed to expand them to a national level.
One such entrepreneur was Cathy Cross, who founded Cathy’s Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches in downtown Cleveland in 2018. Serving homemade cookies with classic ice cream flavors in a fun, upbeat atmosphere in her stores, Cross has managed to expand her business into Atlanta and plans to open new stores in Nashville and Houston by 2023.
Cross shared her expertise and experience with training camp participants in a panel discussion on digital marketing. After her talk, she met several other participants for a 1-on-1 chat in the club-level stands at the stadium to share contact details, provide more advice and help entrepreneurs expand their networks.
“I came in as a business owner and a black owner who was so supportive of the city of Cleveland and the entrepreneurs that are here,” she said. “My main goal was to come here and inspire, encourage and educate them about the nuances of the business and what it looks like – the good, the bad, and the ugly.”