Thursday, April 17, 2014

And the 2014 Family Business of the Year award goes to...

Charlotte-based Rose Chauffeured Transportation won 2014 Family Business of the Year in the medium-sized business division from the Wake Forest University Family Business Center.

H.A. Thompson and his son Andy have built the Rose name into the largest corporate ground transportation company in the Carolinas, according to Wake Forest. They grew the business from one car in 1985 to 53 today. 

Recipients will be recognized at the sixth annual awards celebration 6-8 p.m. May 8 at The Mint Museum Randolph, 2730 Randolph Road, Charlotte. 

To be nominated for the Family Business Awards, a business must have its headquarters in North Carolina. Businesses are evaluated based on innovative business strategies and practices, business growth and development, contributions to the community and industry, involvement by family members and generations, and commitment to family well-being. The nomination process is open from July to November each year.

Winners are named in four categories: century, large, medium and small. 

To nominate a family for the 2015 Family Business of The Year Award visit Deadline is Nov. 7 for nominations and Dec. 5 for applications. 

Want to go to the awards ceremony? Visit The Family Business Center website. Tickets are $125 each or six for $600.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Brews news: NoDa Brewing Co.'s can design wins award

Let's be honest: NoDa Brewing Co. has some awesome beer cans.  And the Charlotte-based agency that designed them -- Saturday Brand Communications -- recently won a silver Addy Award in the "Packaging Campaign" category for it. (Also of note: On Friday, NoDa Brewing won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup for its Hop, Drop 'N Roll IPA. Seven other breweries in North Carolina won as well.)

Read more here:

Read more here:
Courtesy of Saturday Brand Communications

James Ward, creative director for Saturday, says the team wanted to tap into NoDa’s bohemian, artistic vibe for the designs, suggesting the kind of pop art seen in NoDa and capturing NoDa Brewing's personality.

Also important: Making designs you'd spot right away on shelves and in coolers.

Saturday Brand actually gave the trophy to NoDa Brewing owners Todd and Suzie Ford, so you can spot the trophy behind the bar.

Saturday also created the brewery's mobile-optimized website, which suggests where to find the brewer's beer near you. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Learn how to get international business opportunities

Staying Ahead Carolina and UNC Charlotte's Belk College of Business are offering a global economic forum highlight international business opportunities for small and mid-sized businesses 2-5 p.m. April 4 at Crown Plaza Charlotte Executive Park, 5700 Westpark Drive. 

The event is free. To register, email Sabrina Brown: 

An expert panel will address demand, resources, challenges and support for overseas business, and there will be networking and exhibitors offering support to help local businesses make grow. 

The panel will include: Astrid Chirinos, president of the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte; Jian Zhang, former president and board chair of the Carolinas Asian American Chamber of Commerce; Greg Sizemore, director of U.S. Commercial Services and U.S. Export Assistance Centers; John Norman, partner at Greer Walker, Global Services Unit, and Franz Kellermanns, a professor at the Belk College of Business and the forum moderator. 

Here's the agenda:

2 p.m. check-in and networking
2:30 p.m.: panel discussion with audience Q&A
4:30-5 p.m.: exhibits and networking

Staying Ahead Carolina, which focuses on current and emerging trends, has been a free resource to residents of the greater Charlotte region for about 10 years, sponsoring programs and networking events for the public. 

Charlotte Business Resources is a gold sponsor. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Entrepreneurs join the conversation at ShopTalk's mix-and-mingle event

People who run or hope to run their own business get tips for success at the ShopTalk networking event on Monday. JEFF WILLHELM -

More than 120 entrepreneurs attended the ShopTalk networking event on Monday, March 31, at NoDa Brewing Co.

Attendees joined the conversation by tweeting us at #shoptalkclt. Check that out here.

And watch this video by Observer photographer Jeff Willhelm for a recap of tips presented at the event:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Coming up in Wednesday's ShopTalk

In this video preview of Wednesday's ShopTalk, meet a Monroe entrepreneur who has formed a network to boost small businesses. Also, meet an owner growing her company through exporting.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Startup accelerator program wants college students

Calling all college-age entrepreneurs with innovative, viable ideas or prototypes who want to launch or scale a startup. ImpactU, a program through social entrepreneurship hub Queen City Forward, is accepting applications for its 10-week program to get your startup off the drawing board and into the market. 

The program starts June 2, and the deadline to apply is March 28. (Here's where to do it.) 

Participate in the accelerator and here's what you'll get: 
  • Co-working space at the Garage at Packard Place, an uptown startup hub in the heart of the Charlotte business scene. 
  • Connections with mentors, experienced entrepreneurs and business professionals who are dedicated to helping new entrepreneurs learn the ropes.
  • A fast-paced, hands-on environment. 
  • Demo Day: at the end of the program you'll pitch to a room full of potential investors, media, strategic partners and customers. Should be the first week of August, says Charles Thomas, director of Queen City Forward. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Meet the family behind Lebo's

Not too many small businesses have been around for nearly 100 years in Charlotte, and few of those have remained in the family for that long. That's one of many reasons why 91-year-old Lebo's -- a retailer selling Western wear, shoes and dance gear -- is worth studying.

 Meet Jerry Levin, the 89-year-old son of the founder, and Brian Goldsmith, Jerry's grandson and the fourth generation to be involved in the family business. And for a look at Lebo's through the years, check out this slideshow.