On November 29th, SAP‘s NYC office hosted its first ever small and medium sized enterprise (SME) summit.
Leading the day with the ‘Power of Small’ Influencer Roundtable panel discussion, which included panelists Bill McDermott, Co-CEO – SAP, Jorge Silva-Purus, Region II Administrator – US Small Business Administration, Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO – Partnership for New York City, Linda Rottenberg, Co-Founder and CEO – Endeavor Global, Sunil Hirani, CEO – trueEX Group LLC, and John Evarts, CFO and COO – Mediafly, thoughts were shared on solutions and strategies to help SME’s remain competitive, not only in the New York City economy, but around the world.
Silva-Purus led the discussion by sharing his optimism for the health of SME’s in the U.S., stating that not only has the small business community grown and recovered over the last several years, but has also added two-thirds of the U.S’s recent job growth.
“Technology is the heart and soul of every business”, said McDermott. “Technology, it seems, is also the Power of Small”. Rottenberg commented that companies now have the ability to use social media to access the same information as CEO’s, which is breaking the traditional hierarchy. To remain competitive and thrive, the panel discussed how within today’s consumer-led revolution, in which enterprises are struggling to keep up, businesses of all sizes must adopt new technology solutions, such as cloud and mobile solutions, to decrease costs and access the customer. McDermott announced that SAP has powered over 150 startups in Silicon Valley with SAP HANA, which enables entrepreneurs and SME owners to make fast and informed business decisions, an ability that is essential in today’s competitive market.
Additional points of discussion by the panel included public policy and human capital, as important factors that can either make or break a small business, and the effects of Hurricane Sandy on SME’s in the NYC area.
On the topic of public policy and human capital, Hirani voiced his concerns over immigration policies and the effect they have on entrepreneurship and SME success in the United States. Wylde, who noted that one-third of small businesses in NYC are owned by first generation immigrants, also called for a change in immigration policy, citing that very successful entrepreneurs educated here in the U.S. cannot get visas and must return to their home country, which is not in the best economic interest of the U.S.
With regards to Hurricane Sandy and its effects on SME’s in NYC, Wylde shared encouraging information on the status of SME’s in the aftermath of the tragedy and recommended that businesses communicate with the NYC Economic Development Corporation and their local Chamber of Commerce to obtain information regarding available resources and aid. Silva-Puras also noted that the SBA set up recovery centers throughout NYC to help small business through the disaster recovery process, including disaster loan programs, which he reported they were now processing and granting in as little as ten days.
Regardless of the topic, we were constantly reminded of one thing during the panel discussions – that all businesses start off small and that people, policy, technology and capital are what drive small business growth. “What is often overlooked”, stated McDermott, “is the spirit of a leader with a big idea”.