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Biz Chat changes location for May meeting

By Staff | May 3, 2018

A networking opportunity for Cape Coral businesses has grown from four to 90 participants resulting in the third location change starting this month.

“We have regulars. Different people that come and go and new people that have never been,” City of Cape Coral Economic Development Manager Dana Brunett said, adding that those who attend Biz Chat get to see how experienced one can be and how to network their products. “Karen Ramos has done an awesome job. The people that go to these appreciate them.”

Beginning this month, the fourth Wednesday, Biz Chat will move to a larger location, the Kiwanis Club of Cape Coral, at 360 Santa Barbara Blvd.

“We have been looking for a couple of months. We have outgrown our last space,” Brunett said of the typical attendance of 70 to 90 people. “The May event is the first meeting in the new facility. We are excited about that.”

Before the May meeting, Biz Chat congregated to the old City Hall council chambers.

“Growing pains are always difficult, but there is an upside too,” Brunett said. “I’m glad people like the program.”

The May 23 meeting will feature MerriBeth Farnham with HDPR Group. Biz Chat will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Biz Chat, which is free and open to business folks, began to bring business people together, offering a networking experience while providing some available services. The networking, Brunett said offers an opportunity for business owners to share what does and does not work for them.

“It’s really given a lot of small business owners a forum to do some outreach and network,” he said. “We have had a lot of positive feedback from it. We are proud that we can do something that people can use and need.”

Brunett said there is a speaker at each meeting, the business that sponsors the lunch, that provides more information about their business. He said they train the speaker, so they are experienced while giving their speech, providing the most essential information without rambling.

“The lunch meeting (is held) to get people together and have a bite to eat and learn and network,” he said.

In addition, those who attend bring brochures about their business to share with others.

Biz Chat is a partnership among the City of Cape Coral Economic Development Office, Florida Gulf Coast University Small Business Development Center and the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral.

Those interested in attending are encouraged to call (239) 574-0444.

Brunett said they like to know how many people attend because they put together bags with the handouts the businesses bring.

In addition to the Biz Chat, Brunett said they also have Biz Walks where they go to a neighborhood and stroll to the businesses located there. He said some of their partners accompany them to offer information about free services.

The Biz Walks, Brunett said are offered to make the businesses aware that they are there to support them.

“The business owners like the fact that the city is connecting with them and being helpful,” he said.

Brunett said both programs offer customer service, which his department is keen on providing to help businesses be successful.

“We need them. They are our backbone,” he said of the businesses. “They keep the engine humming.”