By Linda Carter, chairman of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Despite the explosive growth of Internet-based social media in the business sector, there is still no substitute for getting out, meeting people and exchanging ideas face to face. Those personal experiences can make all the difference when you are looking to start or grow a business.
That’s the driving force behind our Union County Means Business (UCMB) series of networking events. The Freeholder Board began UCMB last year as a way to help local business owners and managers connect with useful resources and programs, especially ones that are available through local, state and federal agencies. It was such a great success that we are continuing it in 2013.
This year, we are going to focus particularly on business development opportunities, the Affordable Care Act and Internet-based business strategies.
Our first event is a free networking breakfast scheduled for Thursday, March 28 from 8 to 10 a.m. at Kean University in Union. The topic is “The Legislative Outlook for Business.”
U.S. Representative Rush Holt, whose District 12 now includes Plainfield, Fanwood and part of Scotch Plains, will be on hand to give us his perspective on the federal government, along with Congressman Albio Sires from District 8 in Elizabeth.
For some first-hand insights regarding legislative activity in Trenton, we will be joined by New Jersey State Senators Raymond Lesniak and Thomas Kean, Jr. The agenda will also include a presentation on the Superstorm Sandy aid package for businesses.
Another event that I am especially excited about is the “UCMB Women’s Summit.” The Women’s Summit will include a full schedule of workshops and activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, at Union County’s new Galloping Hill Golf Course clubhouse.
This is just a sample of what we’re offering this year, thanks to our community partners including the Union County Alliance, Union County Economic Development Corporation, Greater Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce, Suburban Chambers of Commerce, Union Township Chamber of Commerce, Kean University, and Union County College.
We are also always on the lookout for new opportunities to expand UCMB. When then-Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella initiated UCMB last year, it began as a series of six two-hour networking breakfasts and it quickly grew to include a free e-newsletter, a website that serves as an information clearinghouse, a new workforce affiliation with Union County College, and a special loan program through the Union County Economic Development Corporation.
I am very eager to see how UCMB grows and develops this year, and I hope to see you at some of our events.
For more information about all UCMB events or to pre-register for an event, visit ucnj.org/UCMeansBusiness or call the county Manager’s office at 1-908-527-4200.