City officials are reaching out to people looking to start their own small businesses in Columbus.

City officials are reaching out to people looking to start their own small businesses in Columbus.

Registration is now open for Mayor Michael Coleman's Small Business Conference & Expo, slated for Oct. 8-9 in the Hilton Columbus downtown and the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

The 12th expo will feature local and national speakers, interactive workshops and representatives from nearly every city department who will help explain various rules and regulations.

"What we're thinking about is small businesses, entrepreneurs and young professionals and how to start small businesses," said Tyneisha Harden, spokeswoman for the mayor.

"I think especially in Columbus, we are getting a reputation for attracting young people, and young people are all about being their own bosses and owning their own company."

The conference is expected to bring in more than 700 business leaders and professionals, so seating is limited, Harden said. Early-bird registration, which costs $50, can be completed at

The expo provides prime networking opportunities with business leaders, speakers, panelists and buyers from Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland who will share their professional expertise and contracting opportunities, Harden said.

Guadalupe Velasquez, coordinator of the city's New American Initiative, will be on hand to assist with the minority communities across Columbus.

The Exhibitor Expo, featuring the new Small Business Resource Center, offers owners of small businesses the opportunity for one-on-one consultation from business support and financial services organizations.

Among the national speakers is Lisa Price, CEO and founder of Carol's Daughter, a company specializing in beauty and hair-care products. Price will be part of the women's panel, which debuted last year.

"I know last year when we introduced the women's luncheon, that was a big deal," Harden said. "I feel there was a lot of good information that was shared."