The Small Business Administration Buffalo district office's Straight Talk event will go on Jan. 26, even if the federal government's partial shutdown is still underway.
Volunteers with SCORE Buffalo Niagara, which mentors small businesses and collaborates with the SBA on the conference, are prepared to run it if necessary. That's because SBA employees wouldn't be allowed to participate if the shutdown isn't over.
The SBA's Buffalo district office was in a similar bind a year ago. A government shutdown took effect the same day as Straight Talk, meaning no one from the SBA, not even administrator Linda McMahon, who was in town, could attend. SCORE volunteers ran the event, which drew more than 300 guests.
The SBA Buffalo district office has been closed since Dec. 22 due to the partial shutdown. But John Redman, the SCORE Buffalo Niagara chapter chair, said the presenters for the Straight Talk program are already set and registrations are being accepted at wnystraightalk.org.
"We've got all of our community partners lined up, all of our SCORE volunteers are ready to go, so we'll be moving ahead making sure entrepreneurs have access to attending the event," Redman said.
Redman said 47 people have registered so far, which he said was ahead of last year's pace. About 300 to 400 people are expected to attend.
The Straight Talk conference serves as a kickoff to a series of eight seminars that will be held in February and March at Medaille College. Those seminars also will be held regardless of whether the shutdown continues, Redman said.