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For some people, a business summit in Moline was all about “making your dreams come true.” For others, it was going back to school to learn needed lessons or building new relationships in the community. Those were some of the views from those attending the Immigrant Entrepreneurs Summit (IES) held Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. During the all-day summit event, more than 100 people attended in hopes of getting lessons on how to improve and build their businesses. Some of the workshops offered included: “Growing Your Business in Any Economy,” “How to Jumpstart Your Business Right Now,” “How to Borrow from the Government” and “Fund Your Business.” “One of the big themes today is being resilient,” said Catherine Tran, executive director of the IES. “These are tough times with the recession. This (summit) is meant to give people the tools they need to grow.” IES, headquartered in Des Moines, began as an effort to give immigrants the tools they need to succeed in business. Since 2008, IES has contributed to the formation of 1,831 new companies across the nation, according to the IES website. Ms. Tran, who said about 120 people were scheduled to attend Tuesday’s event, added that she hoped the summit would inspire entrepreneurs to make business connections and help them find success. Connecting with others was a top goal for at least one summit attendee. Alfred Ramirez, president of Diverse Strategies Now in East Moline, said he wanted the event because it offered many different services under one roof. It also offered him a chance to network. “I hope to build some relationships here and get some current-day solutions to problems,” he added. Mr. Ramirez is a keynote speaker, coach, trainer, and facilitator for public and private organizations, K-12 schools, universities, and diverse communities. He develops leaders, businesses, diversity and culture change initiatives, and community engagement, according to the Diverse Strategies Now website. In addition to networking, the summit offered some valuable business lessons for the post-pandemic world. Erie Johnson, vice president of First Community Trust, said he felt “out of touch” with the community after the pandemic. He attended the summit in hopes of learning more business lessons and getting to know the community again. “I hope to learn more after the pandemic. … I feel events like this are very inspirational,” he added. Some of the top lessons presented to entrepreneurs were outlined by Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms and others at the start of the summit. They include:
- Get involved in the community.
- Network with others. “Don’t be shy. Reach your hand out and meet people,” Mr. Thoms said.
- Be willing and able to change with the times. “Think about what is happening tomorrow, not just today. … Your need to reinvent yourself and come up with new ideas,” he added.
- Don’t go it alone. There are many people and resources available to help you in the business world. It’s amazing how helpful people can be,” Mr. Thoms added.