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Michael Bezjian

Shira Lazar, the host and executive producer of “What’s Trending,” a daily show on YouTube, will kick off the Bakersfield Women's Business Conference on April 24.

Like other vendors at Thursday's Bakersfield Women's Business Conference, Michael Monji plans to give away something free to people who visit him at the event's exhibit floor.

But he's not offering candy, pens or other swag. He's a local businessman handing out entrepreneurial advice.

Monji is participating in the conference as a volunteer for SCORE, a national nonprofit whose name stands for Service Corps of Retired Executives. He and his colleagues counsel budding entrepreneurs in creating business, marketing, bookkeeping, licensing, insurance and goal-setting plans -- all at no charge.

Thursday's conference will also feature multiple workshops and presentations by Internet and new media mavens Shira Lazar and Randi Zuckerberg.

Tickets were still available for the event Wednesday afternoon. People hoping to attend were advised to show up by 7:30 a.m. at the entrance at the Rabobank Theater and Convention Center, 1001 Truxtun Ave. Tickets cost $95 and include breakfast and lunch.

Monji, a certified arborist whose family has operated in Bakersfield since 1955, said SCORE has already signed up nearly 30 people for preliminary business consultations Thursday.

Follow-up appointments offering more detailed business advice will take place at the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, 1725 Eye St. To schedule a meeting with a SCORE representative, call the chamber at 327-4421.