The Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce continues to adapt to the ever-changing business environment and challenges impacted by the pandemic. The 27th presentation of the Mel Bedwell Small Businessperson of the Year Award presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners will be a virtual program through ZOOM, on Monday, Aug. 17, at 11 a.m.
The featured keynote is Dr. Thomas Lyons, the Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship in the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at UTC. Dr. Lyons' quintessential topic will be ‘Thinking and Acting Like an Entrepreneur During the COVID-19 Pandemic’.
The Mel Bedwell Small Business Person of the Year Award event honors an outstanding small business person in Cleveland and Bradley County for their success in six areas: staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales, innovativeness of product or service offered, response to adversity, and evidence of contributions to the community. The Chamber board of directors renamed the Small Business Person of the Year Award to honor the memory of Mel Bedwell, who was known for his energy, determination, ingenuity, honesty, enthusiasm and loyalty — all traits necessary for a successful small business owner.
Dr. Lyons' research interests are entrepreneurship skills measurement and development, the relationship between entrepreneurship and community economic development, and social entrepreneurship. He is the co-author of 14 books and numerous articles and papers on these subjects. His co-authored book Understanding Social Entrepreneurship, now in its third edition, is the leading textbook on this subject, used at over 80 universities around the world. He was an early scholar of the concept of “entrepreneurial communities,” or “entrepreneurial ecosystems,” and he continues to conduct research on this subject.
In 2011, Dr. Lyons received the Ted K. Bradshaw Outstanding Research Award from the Community Development Society. He is a practicing entrepreneur, who has co-founded two companies. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all," said Dr. Lyons. "It has brought challenges to some businesses and opportunities to others. The challenges are well documented and can seem overwhelming, but entrepreneurs know that every challenge is also an opportunity, if approached with the right mindset.
So, what is that mindset and how can it be used to frame problems differently and enable effective action? His presentation will explore answers to these questions and offer examples of entrepreneurs who have successfully pivoted their businesses amid the uncertainty created by the current health crisis.
The virtual event begins at 11 a.m. and the cost is $25 for individual tickets. Paid registrations by the event date will receive a $15 dining gift card obtained from local Chamber member restaurant businesses. Attendance is limited, register online at the community calendar at www.clevelandchamber.com or call 472-6587 by noon on Aug. 12. Chamber members may use admission credits from their tiered investment if available, however should call to register.