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'The Conference' to give local businesses tools to capitalize on Super Bowl boon

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When the Super Bowl comes to New Jersey in 2014, it's expected to attract more than 230,000 people and generate $550 million in economic activity.

Those statistics beg the question: How can local businesses take full advantage of what could be a very lucrative opportunity?

That is the question Radia Funna is trying to answer with The Conference, all-day event taking place on Oct. 22 at Maritime Parc in Jersey City.

"The consumers are coming," said Funna, founder of the brand positioning firm Build n Blaze. "My goal was to ensure that our local and regional businesses have the tools to maximize and leverage the dollars that are coming to the region."

The event was originally scheduled to take place back in September, but Funna pushed the date back to add more programming and speakers.

Several big names are scheduled to speak at The Conference. Tracye McDaniel, president and chief executive officer of Choose New Jersey, will discuss positioning the Garden State as a destination for businesses. Wayne Hasenbalg, president and chief executive of New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, will discuss how New Jersey won the Super Bowl and what other events could be coming soon. And former Gov. Jim McGreevey will discuss his role as executive director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Commission and his efforts to help formerly incarcerated women find jobs.

But Funna said The Conference is about more than just conversation. Its goal is to give business owners concrete tools they can use come Super Bowl time, such as how to use social media effectively and engage target customers.

The event will also focus on how local businesses can leverage the exposure that can come with the Super Bowl to take their companies global, Funna said, explaining that the influx of attention and people to the area could serve as a practice run for small and midsized businesses looking to export.

To that end, Funna said the head of international affairs at DHL will moderate a panel discussion on the logistics of exporting and doing business overseas.

"I want to always continue to better position our region and our businesses to prepare for this and to gain maximum exposure and profit," she said.

Tickets for the event cost $250. Those interested in attending can register for the event online.


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