March 23, 2021
SBA ANNOUNCES SHUTTERED VENUE OPERATOR GRANTS APPLICATION PORTAL TO OPEN ON APRIL 8, 2021
Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that the application portal for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program will open on Thursday, April 8, 2021. For members in the live venue operating space, please feel free to pass along this information and note that applicants must first register in order to apply for the grants, which can take several days.

SBA also debuted a new splash page through which applicants can stay informed about eligibility requirements and the opening of the portal.

Click here to view the official announcement.
TEXAS A&M AGRLIFE EXTENSION TEXAS SPEAKS SURVEY
What is TexasSpeaks? TexasSpeaks is an online survey conducted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service with the purpose of listening to Texas citizens as they identify the strengths and needs of their communities. 

What is the goal of the survey? Engage as many Texas citizens as possible to create the most accurate and helpful data to support Texas communities at both the state and local levels.  

Data from this assessment will be aggregated at a local level and provided to stakeholders in your community.

Click here to take the survey.
CPAS PRESENTS “CHRIS PERONDI’S STUNT DOG EXPERIENCE” IN ABILENE
Abilene, TX: Children’s Performing Arts Series (CPAS) is bringing live family shows back to the Abilene stage. “Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience” is presented with limited, distanced seating at the open-air Entertainment Pavilion at the Taylor County Expo Center on Saturday, March 27 at 1pm and 5pm. Featured on Ellen, Oprah, The Tonight Show and many more, Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience features incredible tricks, big air stunts, comical antics and athletic feats performed by amazing dogs rescued from shelters. Single show tickets are only $10, $9 for Military. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased online at www.cpasabilene.org or by calling 325-677-1161. 

The CPAS complete season of shows includes:

LIVE SHOWS

CINDERELLA
Sun, April 18, 2 PM
Presented at the Historic Paramount Theatre
The Panto Company USA brings the beloved classic to The Historic Paramount Theatre. Bullied by her two Ugly Sisters, Cinders' future looks bleak until her Fairy Godmother casts a spell and sends her to the ball. Will the Prince ever find her when she flees at midnight, leaving behind a single glass slipper? Will Cinder triumph over her Ugly Sisters? Come watch the fun and see who gets their fairytale ending.

ACROBATS OF CIRQUE-TACULAR
Sun, May 16, 2 PM
Presented at the Historic Paramount Theatre
Acrobats, aerialists and circus specialty artists bend, twist, flip, and fly in this high-energy, family-friendly flurry of fun!

VIRTUAL SHOWS (Produced by ArtsPower National Touring Theatre)*

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
Matthew and Marilla need a boy to help around their Prince Edward Island farm. They are not expecting Anne, a vivacious orphan with a wild imagination and a joyful zeal for life. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER
Claudia and her brother Jamie decide to run away and secretly move into The Metropolitan Museum of Art, sending them on a humorous journey of mystery, intrigue and self-discovery. Based on the Newbery Medal-winning book. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

CHICKEN DANCE
Hens Marge and Lola enter the barnyard talent contest to win tickets to the Elvis Poultry concert! First, though, they must out-perform the talented ducks, led by Mac, the barn bully. Will they triumph or be all shook up? Recommended for Pre-K and up.
NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITE SMALL BUSINESS FOR THIS YEAR'S SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS
You interact with hundreds of businesses each week. Now, think of those that are doing exceptional work, whose contributions to our community are elevating our region and who make your life just a little bit better. Got them in mind? Nominate them for the Small Business Awards Luncheon sponsored by America's SBDC at Texas Tech, Keep It Local Driven by First Financial Bank, Star Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and Hyundai.

Deadline is March 31

NEW BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD The New Business of the Year Award is to recognize a new business Chamber member operating for more than one year and less than three years that has gained an expanding positive reputation. Nominees must have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees. Judging for this award will be based on potential community impact, use of innovation and technology as well as business growth.

SMALL BUSINESS YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR Chamber member, business owner who has owned their business for more than one year, under the age of 40 who has taken risks in business – started a new venture; expanded into a new area; taken on a difficult project; someone whose thinking is “outside the box”; an astute businessperson with a vision for the future.

THE COMMUNITY INVESTMENT AWARD is to recognize a local Chamber member business with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees, for its outstanding community service contributions such as special programs, partnerships, in-kind support of goods and services, employee volunteerism or other activities that have resulted in a positive impact on our community and citizens. Judges will consider all nominees for their impact, creativity, commitment and employee participation.

FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD This award honors a family-owned and operated business with less than 25 full-time employees. The owner must also serve as a majority owner and operator or bear principal responsibility for operating a small business with at least 10 years. They must demonstrate increased employment opportunities for family members and non-family members.

CONGRATS TO ACU MEN'S BASKETBALL HISTORIC RUN
The Abilene Christian University Wildcats men’s basketball team fell to the UCLA Bruins in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Monday.

Despite the loss, your Abilene community is proud of you and the way you represented our community.

It was their first trip to the second round after a historic win Saturday night over the University of Texas.

You don't want to miss these upcoming events for
your business.

MARCH 31 ONE MILLION CUPS Are you an entrepreneur? Are you searching for a way to connect with other entrepreneurs to discover solutions for your small business needs? The Abilene Chamber of Commerce and McMurry University Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship are excited to bring the Abilene community - 1 Million Cups! Register here.

MARCH 24 SECURITY AWARENESS Did you know your team is your first line of defense when it comes to your business’s cybersecurity? Learn how to boost your defenses by training your team on Security Awareness. This virtual webinar is free and open to the public. Register here.

MARCH 25 & 26, APRIL 1 & 2 ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL PHILANTHROPY VIRTUAL TRAINING SERIES The Friends of the Texas Historical Commission are leading this series on development training suited for large and small organizations from any discipline with limited development staff. They will highlight the best practices while facilitating dynamic group interactions to help attendees build and strengthen their fundraising "tool-kit" so they can more effectively and sustainably achieve their mission. Click Here to learn more and Click Here to Register Now.

APRIL 7 WAKE UP WEDNESDAY SPONSORED BY HSU HOUSTON LANTRIP CENTER FOR LITERACY Monthly morning social business networking event. Open to sponsor employees and guests, Chamber members and prospective members. Features a short sponsor presentation, food/beverages, update on Chamber activities and door prizes. Register here.

APRIL 7 ABICHAT LUNCHEON SPONSORED BY ABILENE REGIONAL AIRPORT Our ABIChat luncheon series is back for 2021 with our first in-person luncheon of 2021on April 7th featuring community leader, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Financial Bank Texas, Ron Butler. Register here.

APRIL 13 GOVERNMENT CONTRACT TRAINING Have interest in working with the government? Want to learn more about proposal writing techniques and pricing methods? Join us for this full day workshop on April 13 8:00 am - 4:00 pm featuring Sandra Burns, CEO, and Greg Hansen, CFO, of Project Solutions, Inc (PSI). Register here.