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Entrepreneur Academy teaches much

Has anyone ever said to you — “it’s never too late to learn?” What about, “I sure would love to start my own business and be my own boss?” Have you ever had the dream of doing something you really love?

During the last seven months a great group of motivated, enthusiastic entrepreneurs have been discovering the skills and resources necessary to address all those questions on a personal, individual basis.

Natchez, Inc. and Alcorn State University partnered with Mississippi Development Authority to create the Entrepreneur Academy Training Program for Southwest Mississippi. On Nov. 20, 29 aspiring entrepreneurs from around the region will graduate in a special ceremony at the Natchez Campus of Alcorn State University.

The first graduating class of the Entrepreneur Academy represents a diverse group of people in varying stages of their lives and careers.

From photography to pottery to catering to radio to event planning to Pilates to candy apples, they all came with visions of either improving their existing business to learning how to start from scratch. Many of these graduates will continue in their current jobs but will add to their incomes and enjoyment with an additional entrepreneurial adventure.

Evening classes were once a month at the Alcorn State University Technology Incubator on Franklin Street. John Brandon from Mississippi Development Authority taught the classes, and other state as well as local experts shared their experiences and expertise with the class. Topics covered critical areas such as deciding on a business, financing the business, licenses and permits, marketing, accounting and insurance, eCommerce, legal issues and the business plan.

Small businesses are often considered to be the “backbone” of a community, and they certainly are a critical part of the economic development plan for any city, county, region or state. Our region is fortunate to have a strong and growing small business effort to fortify the potential of our economy.

In Southwest Mississippi, we are blessed with creative minds, creative imaginations and creative hands. Technology makes it so much easier to create, market and manage a business. Ideas are valuable, and one of yours may just be the one that can turn into a satisfying, financially supportive first or second career.

Natchez Inc., Alcorn State University and Mississippi Development Authority will be offering another Entrepreneur Academy after the first of the year. It is important for us to know the interest and demand for this 2013 class, because space is limited.

If you would like to put your name on the list for potential enrollment in the next Entrepreneur Academy please contact Chris Hinton at chinton@natchezinc.com or me at rnichols@alcorn.edu, or call Aimee Guido at 601-445-0288.


Ruth Nichols is the assistant vice president for educational and community partnerships at Alcorn State University.