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Chamber promotes entrepreneurship with workshop

On Tuesday, the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Auburn University, hosted an entrepreneurship workshop for future and current business owners.

On hand for the event were Auburn University Government and Economic Development Institute Interim Executive Director LaKami Baker and Associate Director David Mixson, who versed those in attendance on securing financing for their businesses, attracting collaborators and, most importantly, knowing who the customers will be.

“To me, it was a more simplified way of putting together a plan,” said Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sheryl Smedley. “The first thing that people have to take away is that you have to know the needs and wants of your community – just because you have something great to sell doesn’t mean the community is going to support it.”

For Mixson, the workshop was a way of providing local entrepreneurs with the tools needed to build a successful business.

“For a lot of rural areas of the state, it can be hard to attract big businesses,” Mixson said, adding that the workshop was aimed at spurning the growth of local businesses to fill that void.

“At the end of the day, we want people to leave with a business model draft…and some building blocks to modify later,” Baker said.

The workshop attracted local educators from Edgewood Elementary School and Selma High School, as well as attendees from Tuskegee and Huntsville.

“I thought it was very successful,” Smedley said. “We had a really diverse group of folks. We’ll definitely do this again, no doubt.”