Small Business Expo coming to Demopolis

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-Governor Riley’s Black Belt Action Commission is once again swinging into action, and this time it’s making a difference right here in Demopolis.

The Commission and its Small Business Development Committee will be sponsoring and administering a Small Business Development Expo, to be held at the Demopolis Higher Education Center Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. until noon. Attendance at the Expo is completely free of charge.

Mayor Cecil Williamson, a member of the Small Business Development Committee, was instrumental in the creation of the Expo and in bringing it to Demopolis.

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“What the Expo is about,” Williamson says, “is the opportunity for those in business or those who would like to be in business, to come and hear stories and learn from those who have gone before and succeeded.”

Those in attendance will be able to discuss the needs specific to small business in the Black Belt, meet with representatives of various Chambers of Commerce, and gather information on “a wide array of business development programs and organizations ready to help,” according to a BBAC press release.

One of the most exciting of those programs, and the one Williamson indicated would receive a great deal of attention at the Expo, is the BBAC’s upcoming Entrepreneurial Academy.

If you want to open a small business,” she said, “you will be able to come these classes, you will be able to get instruction, and when you’re done you will have every tool you need to open your own business.”

The Expo and the Academy, Williamson says, are big steps towards the goals set by the Small Business Development Committee.

“One of our goals is to get all of the tools we can to people who are interested,” she said, “so they will know better what they need to do to be successful.”

The Demopolis Expo, one of three across the Black Belt but the only one west of Selma (the others are in Selma and Tuskegee), will have plenty of benefits not only for Demopolis but the surrounding counties as well.

“This will be good not only for the city, but the whole Black Belt region as well. People will be coming in from six different counties,” she said. “We’re serving a broad base of people, from all occupations, ethnicities, genders…everybody will be able to benefit.”

The press release says the Expo will feature “a showcase of business development programs and organizations, including: Tuskegee University, Alabama State and Auburn Universities, SBDCs, SBA, USDA, Legal Services Alabama, Chambers of Commerce, Hope Unity Fund, Economic Development Authorities, and more.”