About BizConnect

BizConnect is a small conference focusing on what it means to be a small business in the Bay Area today. Located in the iconic UC Theatre, 40 local businesses will be featured, including a dedicated Buy Local tier. Attendees will be able to immerse themselves into three Experience Lounges that highlight ways to transform spaces to engage customers. Throughout the event, speakers will take the main stage to give inspirational talks on one of four themes: Retail Storytelling, Growing a Conscious Company, Successfully Engaging Millennials, and Experiential Dining. Breakout sessions will feature tactical workshops on skills or products to uplevel your brand.

Keynote Speaker

B-Corp, Conscious Capitalism, Impact Investment, California Benefit Corporation, CSR; these are some of the terms associated with a broad movement that has developed in the private sector over the past 25-30 years directly connecting the power of business to create wealth and profit through competition with a broader set of community stakeholders interests. The speaker, Mike Hannigan, founder of one of the pioneer businesses in this movement, a founding B-Coproration and California’s first Benefit Corporation will discuss their history and approach in the context of this broader movement.

Mike Hannigan was born in Pensacola, Florida. He earned his B.A. in Philosophy from U.C. San Diego and his M.A. in Criminology from U.C. Berkeley. He began work for the Xerox Corporation and built his career in management for business products companies for the next decade until starting GSB. “I was active in the usual social movements of the late ’60s and ’70s, and although I was very successful as a businessperson, I was never really comfortable in that role and never happy unless I was involved in some type of community political activism,” says Mike Hannigan.

"I approached Sean Marx with the idea of forming a company that would combine our business skills and our values. We saw an opportunity to use the power of business to further the goals of community service through funding non-profit organizations. We started the company in 1991 with $20,000 each from our savings, we started making sales calls from my living room.”

For information about Give Something Back and the impact they make on your community, please visit givesomethingback.com


Workshop 1

Retail & Branding Experts Talk Retail Storytelling

Steven Donaldson is a founder and principal at RadiantBrands, a full service branding and marketing agency that provides brand strategy, naming, design, digital communications and video to a wide range of clients from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. For him It’s all about brand story telling. Who are you as a brand? Why would customers want you?

With over twenty five years of experience in branding and marketing he’s worked with companies such was Wells Fargo, Hewlett Packard and helped build retail brands such as Pet Food Express. Currently he consults with startups and does ongoing work in the craft brewing industry. He has spoken at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, The Common Wealth Club of California, The International Downtown Association and is a regular advisor at the UC Berkeley sponsored SkyDeck incubator.

Michael Berne is the Founder and President of MJB Consulting (MJB), an award-winning, Berkeley, CA and New York, NY-based retail planning and real estate consultancy hired by a wide range of private, public and quasi-public/non-profit sector clients across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to undertake market analyses, devise tenanting strategies and spearhead implementation efforts.

One of North America's leading experts on Downtown and “Main Street” retailing, Michael has been a keynote/featured speaker at the annual conferences of the International Downtown Association (IDA), the California Downtown Association (CDA), the National Main Street Center, the American Planning Association (APA) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He has served on IDA’s Board of Directors, including a two-year stint as Vice Chair of its Executive Committee.

Workshop 2

Creating Experiences in Dining

Adam Stemmler and Joel DiGiorgio from Farm League host this year's workshop.

VR Experience Lounge

Variable Labs started in 2015, and they've been building cutting-edge training tools and experiences ever since. The Variable Labs team has decades of combined experience creating customized software tools and award-winning experiences. Their content has garnered millions of views globally and they are leveraging their expertise to improve enterprise learning.

Variable Labs uses VR to help people hone their professional development, or "softskills," such as negotiation tactics, salary discussions, public speaking, etc. Come visit Variable Labs in our Experience Lounge at BizConnect 2018 to check it out!

CONNECT with startups, micro-retailers, & mom and pops shops that make up the business community in and around Berkeley.

LEARN about emerging trends that define success for small businesses today.

SUCCEED in increasing your brand's awareness, while promoting your products and services.

ENGAGE customers, build relationships and exchange ideas.

BizConnect After-Party

Join us for our BizConnect After-Party at Gio's Pizza & Bocce!

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

Delicious food and drink! Fun, live music featuring Katy Howard! Specials available with proof of BizConnect attendance. 

Event Sponsors

The Berkeley Chamber would like to thank our sponsors!

Berkeley City College's mission is to promote student success, to provide our diverse community with educational opportunities, and to transform lives. The college achieves its mission through instruction, student support, and learning resources which enable its enrolled students to earn associate degrees and certificates, and to attain college competency, careers, transfer, and skills for lifelong success.

Berkeley City College is a premier, diverse, student-centered learning community, dedicated to the academic excellence, collaboration, innovation and transformation.

Contact Us

Call us to book your table, purchase your ticket, or for any other general inquiries.
We accept Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, and Discover.

Phone: 510-549-7000

Email: events@berkeleychamber.com