Arsenal Place receives $25,000 grant for renovation

Published 9:11 pm Friday, February 2, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

Local business incubator, Arsenal Place Accelerator, is receiving some business help of their own as they were awarded a $25,000 grant from the Alabama Small Business Capital.

The funds were also matched by United Way Worldwide.

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The money is going toward  the renovation of their two-story 6,000-square foot facility located at 22 Church Street. Aiming to serve as a business incubator for the area, members of Arsenal Place realized the different types of skills needed to work in modern society.

According to Dane Shaw, executive director for the Black Belt Fatherhood Initiative and who also helped secure the grant for Arsenal Place, the bottom floor will be used to train individuals for a certain trade, such as woodwork or welding. The upstairs will be used for incubating businesses and helping them develop a vast array of skill sets.

In Alabama, there are jobs in numerous fields that combine blue-collar work with a white-collar skill set.

One of these industries, according to Shaw, is the automotive industry.

“A lot of auto-makers are currently coming to Alabama, but the skill sets are changing for these jobs,” Shaw said. “Manufacturing isn’t run solely by humans anymore. Robots do much of the work now.”

However, this does not mean that the jobs are diminishing. Shaw points out that the jobs are instead transferring to different skills to match the growth of technology.

In minds of the members of Arsenal Place, teaming up with the ASBC makes sense because they have many of the same ideals and mindsets. Both aiming to benefit small businesses and start-ups, they understand what they would wish to get accomplish.

“We realized that in an area like this, 80 percent of what you work with comes from small businesses,” Shaw said.

“What is important is that many grants only pay for getting you started up, but we will have money for training as well.”

In addition to the aid received from the ASBC and United Way, they will be partnering with a firm out of Birmingham that will help train individuals with the skill sets needed.

Another local business incubator, the Selma Idea Factory, has expressed its interest in using the top floor for business growth as well.

Taylor Dobson, vice president of the Alabama Small Business Capital, believes that this is an investment that will benefit all members involved.

“What they are doing here mirrors what we want to do statewide,” Dobson said.

“The main thing is job creation and supporting entrepreneurs, and investing in the Black Belt is something I take personally.”

With the money in the hands of Arsenal Place Accelerator, they can now begin executing the plan to live out their vision.