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Real estate leader to speak at chamber event
Entrepreneur Conference and Expo set for July 24 at West Forsyth High
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Forsyth County News
The third annual Entrepreneur Conference and Expo returns July 24, featuring keynote speaker Jenny Pruitt.
Organized by the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, the expo offers a networking and learning outlet for local small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Pruitt, a nationally known real estate leader, was an ideal fit as the event's guest speaker, said John Kieffer, chairman of the chamber's Small Business Services Committee.
"Although Jenny is involved in real estate, she's a small business owner first and foremost," he said. "And the expo is geared for small businesses, which are the main economic driving force in the state's economy and Forsyth's economy.
"I thought it would be great to hear her perspective on how she found successes a small business owner. A lot of folks can benefit from hearing her story."
Pruitt co-founded Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty in 2007. She has been recognized by the Atlanta Board of Realtors and the Atlanta Business Hall of Fame.
After establishing Jenny Pruitt & Associates in 1988, Pruitt built the company to more than 450 agents, with annual sales of more than $1.5 billion.
She stepped down from that firm to pursue her Atlanta Fine Homes efforts.
Jenny Pruitt & Associates has since become the agent for Hubert Humphrey's $46 million Forsyth County estate, the most expensive property for sale in Georgia.
Pruitt said she accepted the invitation to share her successes and challenges along her three-decade career.
"I'm going to share some of my successful business stories and I will especially be sharing with them how to survive a challenging market," she said.
"I will also be talking about entrepreneurship and how to have a faith-based company that can build a strong culture in our marketplace."
Pruitt said the expo is a great opportunity for small business owners to network.
"Sharing stories helps to encourage and helps to build up self-confidence," she said. "When I go to conferences, it's not just real estate industry conferences. I'm encouraged by other stories. I think this will act as encouragement to other entrepreneurs, especially female."
In addition to having a guest speaker, the expo at West Forsyth High School will feature booths of small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Kieffer said the real experience comes from going to other booths and making new contacts.
"It gives small business owners an opportunity to get together and collaborate on problems and ideas, and to learn ... how others are dealing with things such as personnel, finance and business planning."
Unlike past expos, this year's event will not include breakout classes on various business aspects.
"What we found was that in the transition from the conference to the business expo, we were losing people," said Brian Dill, the chamber's vice president of economic development.
"I think we have found the right mix this year, in that we will transition participants from one event to the other, without a lot of downtime between events. Our goal is to do this while providing participants with a learning and networking environment that is conducive to all involved."