The Mid-Ohio Valley is strong because of our unique shops, restaurants, and nonprofits working hard to meet their mission day in and day out. The team at Clutch MOV wanted to do their part to support these organizations as they support our region. Earlier this year, Clutch MOV launched a workshop series focused on increasing the capacity of small businesses and local nonprofits. The monthly workshops span a variety of topics, from marketing and promotions to strategic planning and social media.

Lead by Sarah Arnold and Cristie Thomas, each workshop is an intimate discussion with eight local business owners and community leaders focused on “how to” strengthen a particular skill set. “It is really important for us that we build intentional relationships with our workshop participants,” said Thomas. “By capping participation at eight, we create space for more purposeful, personal dialogue with those in the room and support more in-depth networking than you might find at a workshop with 50+ people.”

So far, workshops have covered event promotion and Instagram, with future workshops scheduled to cover audience development on Facebook, strategic planning, and more. The next workshop is scheduled for Thursday, March 21st and will go over Canva, an easy-to-use online platform for graphic design work.

Arnold and Thomas wanted to make sure these spaces were conversational, and not simply observational. “In each space, there is time set aside for completing hands-on tasks and sharing with those around the table,” said Arnold. “We’ve found that some of the best ‘ah-ha’ moments have resulted from these more open-ended discussions.”

“It was wonderful sitting around a table and gathering ideas from the team leaders and participants,” said Heather Jones of Commonwealth Financial Services. “[There were] ideas thrown out that I had never thought about.”

Most arrive knowing one or two others in the room, but leave with a sense of camaraderie, having formed a stronger bond with fellow participants. “It’s a great way to network with new people in the community,” said Lyndsay Beihl, owner of Wildroot Flower Co. and a participant in January’s workshop on event promotion. “It was helpful to learn new ways to organize and grow my business.”

Since launching in 2014, the team at Clutch MOV has learned much when it comes to marketing, promotions, and strategy. “We’ve come a long way, especially as a volunteer-based organization,” said Arnold. “Nothing brings us more joy than sharing what we’ve learned with others so that together, we can make an even greater impact on our community.”

“The growth of our small businesses directly impacts the growth of our communities, so by helping our local business owners develop their skills and knowledge even further is really an investment in the future of the MOV,” said Thomas.

Although the series is only in its third month, sessions are selling out quickly. Those interested can register for workshops scheduled through June. Summer and Fall sessions will be announced later this spring.