By Vicki Matranga
Design Programs Coordinator
Based in Chicago, Stephen Konkle is the Illinois District Office International Trade Officer at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Before joining the SBA, Konkle worked in treasury and accounting positions for manufacturing firms. He holds a B.A. in economics and an MBA in finance.
Stephen, what is the most exciting or rewarding part of your work?
As an advocate and supporter of small business, my motivation and reward come from connecting prospective and established small business owners with the resources available to assist them in growing and developing their small business. Programs such as the SBA Resource Network provides training and financial assistance to them on an individual basis.
In the past few years, what has changed most in your business?
The main change in the SBA has resulted from the growth of the internet and social media. I have changed the ways in which I serve the small business population. The assistance I provide remains the same, but the methods for providing that help has changed.
Why did you choose to speak at the International Home + Housewares Show?
Because many of the Show’s exhibitors are small companies, I will be fulfilling the mission of the Small Business Administration by supporting the most vigorous and aggressive players in the economy, the small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.
Tell us what you will be speaking about and how and this topic is important for Show audiences.
Small and medium-sized business account for the majority of jobs in the U.S. economy. The mission of SBA is to assist them in their efforts to grow. The national economies of the world and becoming more interconnected, and the small business needs the tools and support to compete under these conditions.
Preparing U. S. Small Businesses for World Markets
Lakeside Center, Room E350
March 6, Sunday, 3:30 pm – 4:20 pm
This is your first time presenting at our Theater. What are you looking forward to most from speaking at the Innovation Theater?
I am there to provide the attendees with a framework that they can use to formulate strategies that will enable them to compete in world market. Programs and services of the Small Business Administration can assist them.
What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products?
That the manufacturers have created a product in accordance with sound design practices and production standards that will meet their need(s).
What are some of today’s trends or issues that new product development professionals and/or retailers face in the housewares market?
Developing new products that continue meet the needs of the consumer, but respect changing cultural and economic housekeeping practices.
Thank you, Stephen, for providing a glimpse of the information you will discuss in your presentation. We hope that many of the business owners and managers of young companies will attend this valuable program to learn about how to meet the challenges of the global marketplace. We look forward to learning from you on Monday March 6 at 3:30 pm in the Innovation Theater.
To learn more about assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration, contact Stephen at:
Economic Development Specialist
Illinois District Office
U.S. Small Business Administration
500 W. Madison St., Ste 1150
Chicago, IL 60661
The four days of the 2016 International Home + Housewares Show will be packed with events and education. To help you plan your valuable time at the Show, we introduce you to the speakers and the 21 exciting presentations that will take place in the Innovation Theater in the Lakeside Center. Gain cutting edge insights that you can apply to your work. All programs are audio-recorded and will be available at www.housewares.org after the Show.