Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

SEAWNY Celebrates 1st Anniversary

by Craig Turner
Fri, Jun 16th 2017 03:00 pm

Small Enterprise Alliance of WNY (SEAWNY) board president Damon Piatek expressed his pleasure with SEAWNY reaching its first milestone - the one year anniversary of its kickoff event at Larkin Center of Commerce. In a video message to members, Piatek highlighted a year of small business growth in the Buffalo Niagara region.

"One year ago, we launched SEAWNY, and outlined for the Western New York small business community a vision of collectively, and collaboratively, creating greater opportunity for small businesses to grow," said Piatek. "While it's rare that we meet someone who doesn't agree that what we're doing is important for our region, building something sustainable from scratch is always a challenge. So, I couldn't be more thrilled to be here a year later, not only still standing, but with meaningful successes to celebrate."

Highlighting SEAWNY's first year was the opportunity to serve as host organization for the nationally-recognized Small Business Festival (SBF), based in Austin, Texas. At the beginning of May, under SEAWNY's leadership, the Buffalo Niagara region was one of four communities to host simultaneous SBF events, joining Austin, Sacramento and San Antonio. In 2018, SBF organizers are eyeing expansion to 25 cities.

"When we laid the groundwork for SEAWNY over the last few years, we had no idea the opportunity that would present itself with Small Business Festival," Piatek said. "We started this organization because Buffalo Niagara was not on the map when it came to small business - ranked 89th out of 106 metros in a 2016 survey. Now, we're on the map, and a part of a nationwide movement to grow small business. I'd call that a significant year one success, and we're already in talks on how to make Buffalo Niagara's second Small Business Festival even bigger and better."

In addition, SEAWNY continues to bring together small businesses, providing expertise and best practices through events like its "Small Business Experts Series," and facilitate a growing referral network for partnerships, mentorships, sharing of ideas and, of course, new business. SEAWNY works closely with the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) in Northeast Ohio, whose leaders have served as mentors and partners for the development of the organization in Western New York.

"One of the great things about the small business community is that you find lots of outstanding people who are willing to help others reach their potential," said Piatek, who also serves on the board of directors for COSE. "Our partners in Cleveland are no exception, and SEAWNY would not have the momentum it has today without their guidance and encouragement. It's been a truly rewarding experience working closely with them."