Panel Discussion to Feature Local Business Leaders

Five local entrepreneurs will talk about their market niches and sustainable business practices during a panel discussion on Thursday at The Ohio State University.

The event −titled “Thriving Small Businesses in Columbus” and hosted by the Council of Graduate Students’ Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility Committee− will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Traditions Room at the Ohio Union located at 1739 N. High St.

The panelists are: Jeni Britton Bauer, founder and president of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams; Adam Brouillette, owner of littleINDUSTRIES; Elizabeth Lessner, CEO and president of Betty’s Family of Restaurants; Dan Monnig, owner of Paradise Garage; and Josh Quinn, co-owner of Tigertree.

“Strong small businesses not only produce a critical economic asset, but they also connect people to the city,” says Benjamin Kent, delegate for CGS, a branch of OSU’s student government that serves as the voice of more than 10,000 masters and doctoral students.

“They develop the deep cultural roots and values of a city, plus help to tear down social barriers,” he continues. “During a time when major corporations are failing all over the country, many small business have shown resilience. It is in that spirit that the panelists were chosen and will discuss how they are able to keep their businesses buoyant or maybe even found ways for their businesses to thrive.”

A moderator will ask the panelists questions intended to generate conversation with the audience.

“While each panelist has a unique story to share, which is paramount during a time of socioeconomic turmoil to dissuade fears and encourage people to take initiative, the audience will create the overall experience,” Kent says. “Collectively, we hope to inspire a generation rich with social capital and the capacity to follow their entrepreneurial dreams.”

The discussion is free and open to the public.

To learn more about “Thriving Small Businesses in Columbus,” visit