The SBA kicked off Small Business Week in Seattle on Monday. Wonderful weather (seriously gorgeous – we’ve got pictures to prove it), a personal welcome by President Barack Obama (okay, it was televised), and the awesome Microsoft campus contributed to the enlivening and fertile environment.

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Entrepreneurs were treated to an armchair interview moderated by SBA Administrator Karen Mills with local small business owner Joe Koreis, President and CEO, Clarus Fluid Intelligence, and Cindy Bates, VP of small-to-midsized business for Microsoft, discussing how technology has leveled the playing field for small businesses.Seattle's local entrepreneur panel

After, a panel of local entrepreneurs shared their experiences – the benefits and difficulties – of starting and running businesses in the Seattle area:

Moderated by Larry Spelhaug of Greater Seattle SCORE, the panelists included:

The consensus? Seattle rocks. And we couldn’t agree more; there’s just something in the air around here that makes you want to get out and do something.

Following lunch, we spoke with many small business owners looking to grow their businesses, as well as entrepreneurs just starting out. It’s always thrilling to see the level of ingenuity and dedication that entrepreneurs have; they’re one group of people who haven’t forgotten their dreams, and are working hard – very hard – each day to ensure they come true.

The event continued today in Dallas. If you were there, hopefully you got a chance to stop by our booth and say Hi to Haley and Dustin! Also, stay involved in the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #SBW2013.