John Brice of Leysath Security raises a question to presenter Richard Harris of the law firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. at a Jan. 11 small business workshop.

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 18, 2012 — More than 40 local small business owners and employees engaged in an interactive discussion at a recent workshop that focused on strengthening their bottom lines, according to state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, who hosted the event. The University of Pennsylvania and the law firm of Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. co-hosted.

The Jan. 11 lunchtime workshop, held at Penn, focused on labor issues. Participants engaged in lively discussions on various topics of interest; particularly, sexual harassment policies and liability/negligence.

The number of small employers in Pennsylvania was 236,775 in 2006, accounting for 98.4 percent of the state’s employers and 49.9 percent of its private-sector employment, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Small businesses are crucial to our local and state economy, and they are the ones who are hit hard by the recession,” Williams said. “This workshop served as both a motivator and a one-stop-shop for valuable resources that can help small business owners succeed.”

Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from small business owners, the senator will planning another workshop this year, which will be listed online at and the senator’s Facebook fan page and Twitter.

Williams will also elaborate on the state of the small business community on an upcoming “Capitol Update” segment, which will be available soon on Comcast channel 190 and the senator’s website.