Virginia Beach Economic Development Invites Small Business Owners to the SWaM Business Forum on Oct. 23

Monday, October 08, 2018

​The Annual Small, Women- and Minority-owned Business Forum will be held on Oct. 23 at the new Zeiders American Dream Theater, 4509 Commerce St., Virginia Beach. This free event, sponsored by TowneBank and Inside Business, is organized by Virginia Beach Economic Development and the Department of Purchasing to introduce strategic business partners in the arts and entertainment industries. For more information or to register visit

The Forum provides small business owners an opportunity to hear from local experts and stakeholders about the various facets of small business and entrepreneurship.

8:30 a.m.

9:00 a.m.
WELCOME | City of Virginia Beach
OPENING REMARKS | Office of Sen. Mark R. Warner

9:15 a.m.
GUEST SPEAKER | Mike Zeiders, Zeiders American Dream Theater

9:45 a.m.
Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the Entertainment/Performing Arts Industry: Mike Zeiders, Zeiders American Theater; William "Woody" Prettyman, Studio Center; David Semon, Sandler Center      

11:00 a.m.

11:30 a.m.
CERTIFICATIONS AND YOUR BUSINESS - With Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council

12:00 p.m.

The SWaM Forum and workshops throughout the year are part of Virginia Beach Economic Development's small business outreach program. Other resources include networking opportunities, business mentoring, outreach events, procurement training, 1 Million Cups entrepreneurial engagement program, resource connections, site selection assistance, market research and business license assistance. A few key statistics on the importance of small business growth include:

  • 95 percent of Virginia Beach businesses have 50 or fewer employees
  • SWaM-certified companies are twice as likely to receive grant funding
  • 33 percent of all startups in the region are located in Virginia Beach

Additionally, Virginia Beach has an online Small Business Toolbox to navigate the way. Click here for more information.

The mission of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development is to attract and retain national and international businesses to stimulate capital investment and create jobs. The Department of Economic Development received re-accreditation through the International Economic Development Council in 2016 and is one of only 50 economic development organizations in the world to have this recognition. Virginia Beach was named America's #1 best big city to live in by For more information, visit

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