Big business in Demopolis

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 28, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-A class sponsored by the College of Business Administration and the Small Business Development Center of Alabama State University plans to bring more businesses to Demopolis.

The NxLevel entrepreneurship class graduated 26 students on Tuesday, July 26. Twelve of the graduates attended the class at Alabama Southern Community College in Demopolis and 14 attended at Mosses.

Dr. James Wright, representative, and Sam Given, chairman of Governor Bob Riley’s Black Belt Small Business Committee addressed the graduates. Dr. Percy Vaughn, dean of the College of Business Administration at ASU, Lorenza Patrick, director of the Small Business Development Center, and Walt Higgins, executive director of the Hope Unity Fund were also guest speakers.

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“I encourage people to take the class,” mayor Cecil Williamson said. “I am looking forward to more businesses in the city.”

Williamson, who gave the welcome and introduction at the ceremony, said she felt as though there was a need for such a program in Demopolis.

Doug Null, a class participant and graduate, said he learned about the class through the Chamber of Commerce.

“I did it for personal enrichment,” Null said. “I’m always looking to improve my skills. I’ve been in the business 30 years and I’m still learning.”

Null, owner of a local sign shop, said he takes advantage of anything he can do to make his business better. According to him, the class teaches students how to stay current, which is the key to staying in business.

He said the major point he learned from this class session was how to use the internet as a business tool.

“If you are even remotely thinking about starting a business you need to take that class,” Null said. “It teaches you how to develop a plan to reach your target market. Once you know your customers desires and needs and you fulfill them…end of story.”

Williamson said the class will be offered again this fall and she hopes news of the class spreads.

“We can take as many who want to register. If need be, we can open the doors and make the classrooms bigger,” she said.

“You have people to help you succeed and complete your dream,” Null said. “I’m thankful Demopolis has a school like that.”