Local business owners benefit from free workshop

FRESNO, California

A workshop at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Fresno helped them devise new strategies to grow their business. Unfortunately the downturn has claimed another victim.

The Di-Pro facility in east central Fresno will close by Christmas Eve, leaving 133 people without work. Di-Pro makes brake parts for trucks. Parent company Bendix-Spicer says it is re-locating to Mexico. Di-Pro is the latest business to shut down during these tough economic times.

Entrepreneurs packed the workshop in downtown Fresno to seek advice on how to stay afloat. The Governor's Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship pushed the power of networking.

Small business advocate Marty Keller explained, "For any business in the room today there's another business that that first business doesn't know that could be a partner for them in putting together a team to go after a contract that each one alone wouldn't qualify for."

You don't have to look far to find for lease signs and empty spaces.

Business owners learned the government is always looking for products and services.

Business owner Lee James said, "What I was surprised by was the amount of and different items that they buy. The fact is I bid on some yeast, and I never thought the government would buy yeast."

Keller added, "Whatever you sell there's probably a government agency that's buying."

Matt Crum produces videos, including the one shown during the governor's farewell luncheon on Tuesday.

Crum said, "I'm considering broadening the scope of our business to incorporate more new media, social media offerings."

Entrepreneurs learned how to tap into small business loans. They were also grateful the event and lunch was free.

Tammy Sears of Fresno said, "I think what's being done here is clarity. It's giving you the resources, giving you the tools."

Over 400 people signed up for the workshop. Similar workshops have been held around the state to help identify opportunities for small businesses.

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