U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft Launch 30-City Small-Business Technology Symposium

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 1997 — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Microsoft Corp. today launched Small Business Crossings: Seminar and Expo for Strategic Decisions, a technology symposium for small businesses. Each of the one-day events features keynote presentations by local small-business leaders, breakout sessions on key technology topics, and an exposition to provide small businesses with information and “hands-on” experiences that illustrate how technology can help them better serve their customers and compete effectively. Sponsored by Compaq Computer Corp., Great Plains Software Inc., GTE Corp., Seagate, and over 50 other national and local technology companies, the events will take place in 30 cities over eight months. They are expected to reach more than 70,000 small businesses.

Each symposium will include seminars, demonstrations and discussions that will address the key technology needs and trends faced by small businesses today, including these:

  • Accounting for Small Businesses

  • Electronic Commerce – Doing Business on the Internet

  • Small Business Policy Issues

  • Personnel/Human Resources

  • The Changing Marketplace

Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Aida Alvarez, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration; and Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft, together announced the series of symposiums designed to help entrepreneurs recognize the value of technology.

Small Businesses See Computers as Reactive Resource

The U.S. Chamber teamed with Microsoft to develop the events because many entrepreneurs are unclear about the value of technology in a smaller environment. Research by Business Research Group Inc. (BRG) commissioned by the U.S. Chamber and Microsoft showed that while small businesses seem to recognize the value of technology, they are unclear about how it applies to them.

“Several major trends are forcing small businesses to increase their use of technology,” Donohue said, citing research that showed rising demands of customers and business partners as key driving factors. “Most small businesses use computers reactively, rather than proactively. Today, however, a minimum level of technology usage is absolutely essential for any business.”

Gates agreed, pointing out that among other changes, the Internet is raising expectations for service from smaller organizations. “Personal computers have helped small businesses by leveling the playing field in many ways,” he said. “But an increasingly sophisticated marketplace, along with the Internet, is expanding many small organizations’ dependence upon technology just to meet basic customer and partner demands.”

For additional information about the events, registration or the event schedule, visit the Microsoft® Small Business Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/smallbiz/ .

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Crossings Cities/Dates

SeattleJan. 14

PhiladelphiaJan. 22

BaltimoreJan. 28

MinneapolisFeb. 3

DetroitFeb. 10

AtlantaFeb. 18

Sacramento, Cailf.Feb. 25

IndianapolisMarch 4

Tampa, Fla.March 11

Columbus, OhioMarch 18

Secaucus, N.J.March 25

MilwaukeeApril 2

New OrleansApril 8

PittsburghApril 16

Salt Lake CityApril 21

ClevelandApril 29

BostonMay 7

Oklahoma CityMay 13

Norfolk, Va.May 20

PhoenixMay 28

San FranciscoJune 11

HoustonJune 16

DenverJune 24

St. LouisJune 30

WashingtonOct. 28

New YorkNov. 6

San DiegoNov. 13

Buffalo, N.Y.Nov. 19

ChicagoDec. 3

Los AngelesDec. 11

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