Small Business Beanstalk Ramping Up Community Presence with New Partnerships

The Small Business Beanstalk has long been a supporter of all things local. The organization that connects businesses to resources and simultaneously encourages and rewards local shoppers is making a resurgence and recommitment to the Columbus community.

“We’re doing what we were doing a lot better,” says SBB CEO Wolf Starr.

Starr is back at the helm of the organization he helped found over six years ago. He and the other business partners had all been growing as individuals and in other business ventures when they realized the SBB needed to refocus.

When it came down to talks of bringing someone else, Starr realized how much he missed the SBB.

“I wanted to be back to doing that full-time,” he says.

Starr had been at the Gateway Film Center in what was never really intended to be a permanent position.

“In that time we were able to become a non-profit, create the downtown drive-in, topiary theater and grow our partnership programs,” he says. While the Gateway could have continued coming up with new milestones, it was time to leave future benchmarks and momentum in the rest of the staff’s very capable hands.

Continuing successful programs, while adding new partnerships, is on the docket for the SBB.

“Business to business services have been through the roof,” Starr says. “What’s most special is we’ve really created smart partnerships that are allowing us to have a greater impact.”

Three new program partnerships will increase the SBB’s reach and impact on the local economy.

A partnership with Puffin Foundation West is helping attract new American populations, like the Somali and Bhutanese communities. There’s a high rate of entrepreneurship among these communities, but these businesses aren’t always grouped in with the larger small business landscape.

“We can bridge the gap of the community through entrepreneurship,” Starr says.

The goal is a two-way street – introduce theses businesses to more people in Central Ohio and introduce more businesses to their customer base.

Through Support Our Local Economy, the SBB is working with the Clintonville Co-Op and similar organizations to improve the technology associated with their membership cards. Co-op members will have special SBB cards that wrap membership and discounts at other business accessible through the card into one. The technology will help co-ops track membership.

“We’re also working with the Columbus Songwriters Association to help create some unique deals for local singer-songwriters in Columbus,” Starr says.

A month-long campaign will shift focus back to the SBB card. It’s always been active and usership has grown, but not at the rate it used to, so the organization will announce a new deal every day in July. Cardholders can expect deals like free bowling at the Bosco Center, a free bread pudding with the purchase of an entree at the Chintz Room, and 20 percent off at the Experience Columbus welcome centers.

Starr says over 300 business will be involved after the July rollout. Users can find all of those locations on an interactive map on the SBB website or iOS app.

The SBB tries to curate a list of business they can truly impact with their services. All interested owners must fill out a survey to gauge how the partnership can be most helpful.

Starr is excited by all the partners that have come to the table and is looking forward to re-engaging the community. He encourages members to keep up on social media, come to events and start using their cards again.

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