Columbia small business expo provides networking opportunities

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted the 12th annual small business exhibition to allow local businesses and non-profits to network and showcase their services to the public. 

Geoff Karr, co-chair for the chamber's the small business committee, said the event allows business owners to make connections with one another. 

"We want businesses to network," he said. "There are a lot of new chamber members and a a lot of new businesses in Columbia, so we're trying to bring attention to that." 

Forty businesses participated. The event is limited to businesses with 25 or fewer full-time employees.

Sherry Jackson, director of Tree Top Innovative Learning Center, said the expo has given her the opportunity to learn more about other business all while promoting her own. 

"We met all kinds of people, she said. "We've met people that need employment, we met people that need day care, bankers and insurance people. It takes more than a village to raise a child, so every partner we can work with will help us give our children more." 

Karr said the ultimate goal for most people is to find customers.

"That could be a business customer, that could be a personal customer, it just depends on the business and the services that they provide,"  he said.

Preston Sharp, account executive with Towner Communications, said the expo was designed to promote the strength of local business in Columbia. 

"The Chamber of Commerce is always very good at making the small business feel welcomed in the business community here in Columbia," he said. "And we want to be a very important part of that in growing, not only our business, but other businesses here in mid-Missouri."