It was a monumental joining of forces as the NYC Business Expo and Conference, held at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel on Friday, was abuzz with business networking activity. The Expo and Conference was a joint project of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, and the synergy between these two behemoths was evident.
The sold-out B2B expo floor was filled by a very diverse array of exhibitors and attendees who came from throughout the region – an interface between the general business world and the Jewish community business world. Exciting products and services were displayed, and new relationships were formed.
Needless to say, the New York City metro area is a prized market for anyone in the business world, and this was a unique opportunity for both locals and those from outside the Big Apple to make inroads, handshake by handshake. The vaunted SCORE business mentoring service had a major presence on the floor, offering quality advice and mentoring services for both exhibitors and attendees. “I really gained a lot,” remarked one exhibitor, who came from Central New Jersey.
The Conference portion of the event was arranged by the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, and attracted a crowd of hundreds.
Duvi Honig, Founder and CEO of the Chamber, commenced the Conference by introducing Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYS Department of Small Business Services, who expressed his enthusiasm for the Chamber mission and fielded audience questions. Renowned business leader and motivational speaker Charlie Harary Esq. discussed the traits of top performers in his inimitable style. David Rosen, former Director of Operations at Starbucks and current manager at Four Corners Café and Chairman of the Chamber’s Small Business Alliance, shared business development tips that can make a real difference. David’s various innovations at Starbucks, such as selling bananas and personalizing cups, caught the eye of CEO Howard Shultz and other business leaders.
On the tech end, David Konigsberg of Optimal Targeting, a Google Premier partner, shared the secrets of utilizing Google to grow your business. Chaim Shapiro, M.Ed., Director of the Office for Student Success at Touro College, shared his vast expertise regarding the potential of LinkedIn to provide business success. New York attorney Nathan Renov delivered a “crash course” on intellectual property law, particularly as it relates to protecting a business’s IP address.
In addition, there was a well attended “Women in the Workforce” conference segment that featured presentations by Rachel Van Tosh, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Business Services for the NYC Department of Small Business Services; Rebecca Harary, entrepreneur and NYC Council candidate; and Libby Hikind, Founder and CEO of GrantWatch, a noted expert on funding resources for non-profit and small business advancement.
“The speeches were interesting, informative and very relevant,” one attendee, Blima, summed up.
What was particularly unique about this Expo and Conference was the involvement of government agencies at all levels, from the IRS and FEMA at the federal level to various New York based business development agencies. “The government has a vested interest in the success of the economy but often struggles to effectively channel its resources at the grassroots level,” explains Mr. Honig. “The networking power of events like these help bridge that gap.”
In the midst of the day’s frenzied activities, a VIP dinner was held where leaders of both Chambers celebrated the event’s success with some of the leading business and governmental figures in attendance. The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce was heralded for, among other feats, its success in stimulating relationships between the U.S. and Israeli business communities. The Chamber has been a leader in the battle against the BDS movement and has helped businesses and leaders in both countries effectively network with each other. The Chamber has arranged, in partnership with New York State government, a revolutionary trade mission to Israel by the New York business community, which will take place later this year. (Details to follow.)
FEMA was honored for its extensive relief efforts in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce and several of its member businesses were instrumental in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas, and the Chamber has initiated a major fundraising drive, along with the National Council of Young Israel, and the Rabbinical Alliance of America, to assist victims of Hurricane Irma.
Looking back, Mr. Honig speaks glowingly about the Kiddush Hashem brought about by Friday’s event. “Beyond the confines of our own community, it was clear to see how motivated, innovative and upstanding our community’s entrepreneurs,professionals and workshop presenters are,” he remarks, “and how much of a positive asset they are to the economy at large.”