FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 2, 2012
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
MUW’s CCE focuses on existing businesses; gears up for small business forum set for Jan. 27
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Today’s economy presents both opportunities and challenges for Mississippi businesses, and Mississippi University for Women’s Center for Creative Entrepreneurship is looking to assist in both areas, particularly for existing businesses that have been operation for at least two years.
A $400,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will enable the CCE to implement SMARTbiz, a unique program that provides real time specific solutions to real time problems faced by the business owner in their day-to-day operations. The pilot program was first offered at the Renasant Center for Ideas in Tupelo.
“It was developed with a large amount of input from entrepreneurs themselves as to what types of skill building was needed and the best ways to bring this assistance to them. Technology such as webcasting, Skyping, etc., will allow participants to acquire needed information without taking them out of their businesses. We are looking at specific problem-solving methodologies,” said Lucy Betcher, CCE administrator. “The goal of the program is to help small businesses in the area to better utilize all of the multiple resources available to them.”
SMART Experts such as bankers, lawyers and CPAs will be available to participants on an individual basis, via Skype or by phone, or in person.
“Small business ownership can be very lonely,” Betcher explained. “This is all very tailored to individual problem-solving. Business owners meet with other small business owners and come up with solutions based on other business owners’ experiences.”
Participants will gain skills in marketing, finance, human resources, certifications, goal setting, legal matters, organization, technology and many other areas.
Bridget VanHolland-Williams, MBA and training coordinator, said, “They are getting a lot of resources and a great return on their investment at a very small cost.”
Betcher added that the program also focuses on building alliances and working with entities such as Columbus Air Force Base, the Northeast Mississippi Procurement Center, Mississippi State University and others.
“The community can benefit from much more on this campus than they realize. We are trying to be a gateway to other resources both on campus and throughout northeast Mississippi,” she said.
One of those offerings is the upcoming Listening to Small Business Forum set for Friday, Jan. 27 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Congressman Alan Nunnelee will kick off the session, which will be held in Nissan Auditorium, Parkinson Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information and updates, call (662) 241-6277 or visit their Facebook page at the MUW Center for Creative Entrepreneurship.