WHO: U.S. Small Business Administration Regional Administrator Patricia Brown-Dixon; Nebraska Lead Business Development Specialist Barbara Foster; Nebraska Business Development Center Kearney Director Odee Ingersoll; Grand Island Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Johnson.
WHAT: The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Nebraska District Office invites members of the press and other dignitaries to attend an awards ceremony recognizing Cindy Johnson as the SBA Region VII Women in Business Champion.
Champions are judged on their efforts to increase business and financial opportunities for women and effectiveness in improving the environment for creation and expansion of businesses owned and operated by women.
Region VII encompasses Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
WHERE: Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, 309 West 2nd Street, Grand Island, Neb.
WHEN: May 25, 2011, 1:30 p.m.
Background on Event Principal:
Cindy Johnson has increased opportunities through mentoring and providing training for women entering the business and workaday world in Grand Island.
Perhaps her biggest feat was being part of a team working against difficult odds to bring the Nebraska State Fair to Grand Island. The toughest part for Johnson was uniting the parties involved in a common goal, culminating in a successful presentation to the state legislature in 2008. The results for Grand Island were impressive: 309,400 people attended the 11-day event, the second-highest total for the state fair in a decade.
Another program Johnson brought to Grand Island involved high school students interacting with local employers and manufacturers, putting what they learn in the classroom into practice in the workplace. Similarly, Johnson led an effort to provide job enhancement training at the local community college, offering technical and social skills to advance from an entry-level job to a management position. The idea is to look beyond the current generation of business owners to identify those likely to become the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.
Johnson also has served since 2005 as a member of the Nebraska Educational Leadership Council, a group which unites leaders from the education, business and agricultural community to improve education from preschool through adulthood.
Note on SBA Lending in Nebraska: Over the past 18 months, more than 880 SBA-backed loans for $250 million have been approved for small businesses in Nebraska, creating more than 3,300 new jobs.