Businesses Showcase Helps Local Companies Network

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COLUMBIA - More than 1500 people attended the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. 

The event, which is geared toward local businesses from around the mid-Missouri area, gives companies the chance to showcase their business to the community while networking with other companies. 135 business came this year, filling out the entire center. 

While many companies come to the yearly event every year, other companies were attending the event for the first time with a booth.

Jessica Canfield, owner of Nate's Computer Repair, said she and her husband spent many late hours preparing their booth. She believes this event is the type of exposure her company needs. 

"I think it could be huge," she said. "I think the point of the expo is to help people better understand what your services are and really get some clients that are going to get return business for us.

According to REDI, since 2012, the number of new business licenses issued to business inside Columbia city limits has risen every year. In 2014, there were 269 licenses issued. Currently there are 237 new business licenses issued for 2015. Jean Nicklas, a REDI spokeswoman, says small business are perfect for mid-Missouri and Columbia. 

"Columbia is a great place for a small business," Nicklas said. "The community is very supportive, there's low cost of living, there's a lot of support for businesses in the area, especially entrepreneurs and start-ups."

Businesses paid between $375 and $600 for a booth. All proceeds from the event go to the Chamber of Commerce, who then give the money to help out local businesses. 

The Business Showcase runs until 5 p.m.