Business Owners Invited To Connect, Learn At Valley Business Expo

By Gregory J. Wilcox, Staff

Posted: 02/21/2012 05:25:31 PM PST

February 22, 2012 1:30 AM GMT Updated: 02/21/2012 05:30:16 PM PST

Businesses will have an opportunity Thursday to connect and maybe help grow one another’s bottom line. It’s happening at the fourth annual Valley Business Expo at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Hotel, 2500 Hollywood Way in Burbank.

Sponsored by the Valley Economic Alliance, it’s billed as the region’s largest business-to-business gathering. It could be another green shoot in a slowly improving economy, said Ron Wood, the alliance’s president and CEO. And the pulse of the Valley’s business community is a little stronger than a year ago, he said.

“People are starting to feel a little better, and they are starting to reach out. We’re seeing better opportunities,” Wood said. “(Business) people were in such a down mood they had retrenched. Now they are seeing a better future and reaching out to get their businesses going again.”

The event is Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and admission is $10. It is open to any size business and all industries. One feature is a “Meet the Bankers” area for advice on securing funding from lenders, including Chase, Wells Fargo, US Bank and the Valley Economic Development Center, which specializes in Small Business Administration and other types of financing.  There will also be sessions on how to do business with some of the region’s largest private sector companies and public agencies, including the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airport, Van Nuys Airport, Walmart, Republic Services Inc., which serves in the domestic, nonhazardous solid waste industry, and Vons.  There will be at least 106 exhibitors, Wood said. They will feature a variety of products, including marketing and advertising, sales strategies, social media, email marketing, finance and capital access and businesses development services. “It’s an opportunity to learn from fellow business owners and connect with other business owners. They can learn what others are doing to expand their business,” Wood said.

Economist William W. Roberts, director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at CSUN, also senses a better overall feeling about the economy. “People have adjusted to what the economy has become. It’s better than it was. We’re moving forward, incomes are going up and unemployment is coming down,” he said. “We’re getting positive signs pretty much clear across the board.” For additional information on the expo, contact the alliance at 818-379-7000 or  818-713-3743