Join the convesation. #SmallBizBay

The third event in the “Go Local” Think Tank Series was held on September 19 at Dell’s Silicon Valley headquarters. The team met with local entrepreneurs, small business owners, entrepreneurial thought leaders and local leaders to discuss the prospects, priorities and perceptions around running and growing a small business.

Rhonda Abrams, a noted small business expert and national USA Today columnist, emceed the event and Ingrid Vanderveldt, Dell’s EIR, Dave Gardner, Fast Company blogger and Chris Shipley, local entrepreneur and founder of Guidewire Group moderated the discussions and others joined us in an online discussion via #SmallBizBay. Steve Van Dorn, CEO and President of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce helped kick off the event with insights on what makes the local small business community unique. The overall conversation was driven by local research that Dell commissioned to uncover topics that were identified to be the most important to them and focused on: Access to Capital & Markets, Access to Networks, Talent & Expertise, and Access to Technology. Our research was in-line with the sentiment of local small businesses as they have a bright outlook of the local economy and have healthy expectations for growth in the near term.

Small businesses often live and die by local conditions, so putting an ear closer to the ground helps Dell be responsive, understand the unique needs of small businesses. Key feedback for Dell was focused around what entrepreneurs need to spur growth and included:

  • Mentorship/ Pay it Forward – entrepreneurs in the Bay Area would like Dell to advise them on their own lessons learned having started as an entrepreneur. Participants advised Dell to continue to foster entrepreneurial growth as entrepreneurs are loyal and will stick with Dell if that investment is made on the front end of the relationship.
  • IT assessment – participants said “we don’t know what we don’t know,” and that Dell could help by doing a 360 IT assessment of the business and make tailored recommendations that would help solve key business issues.
  • Community – Bay Area entrepreneurs like what Dell is doing to build networks of entrepreneurs and believe more interactions can help them make the right connections, find the right technology.
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