Pickens selected as pilot community for project to aid entrepreneurs
by Joe Toppe Staff Writer
PICKENS – Businesses in the City of Pickens will soon benefit from a program designed to provide online resources for entrepreneurs.
“The Appalachian Council of Governments’ Department of Planning and Economic Development recently received a $55,000 federal grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to build an on-line Entrepreneur Friendly Toolkit,” said Allison Fowler, executive director of the Pickens Revitalization Association. “The City of Pickens has been chosen as one of the pilot communities for the project.”
Officials at the Appalachian Council of Governments were excited to include the City of Pickens in the project.
“Understanding that small business is still America’s number one employer, the Entrepreneur Friendly Toolkit will help communities organize themselves around the goal of creating environments that are both welcoming and supportive of entrepreneurs,” said David Shellhorse, economic development services manager for the Appalachian Council of Governments. “When considering possible communities who could help our organization develop this tool, Pickens and its exciting new Pickens Revitalization Association was the first community to come to mind. The PRA shows a commitment to entrepreneurship that will serve as a positive example for the entire region.”
Fowler said the PRA was thrilled to participate in the program.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this pilot program as it will help us develop tools and resources for our local businesses to grow and thrive here in Pickens,” she said. “By design, the process to develop the toolkit will help us organize a plan for supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses.”
The process will take Pickens through eight steps, including resource assessment, centralized information, training programs, networks, business sustainability, local regulations, business-government communication, and public recognition of entrepreneurs.
“The great thing about the toolkit is that once all the information is in, we can click print and have a detailed action plan in our hands which will be called City of Pickens Entrepreneur Friendly Action Plan,” Fowler said. “But the project doesn’t end there, because the Appalachian Council of Governments will be alongside us in developing the deliverables of the action plan, one of which we hope to be a small business resource fair here in Pickens.”
According to Fowler, once complete, Pickens will be able to post the completed action plan on the toolkit website where it can be updated and shared with other communities in the region. Development of the toolkit will begin in October and should last approximately twelve months.
“The City of Pickens will begin pulling together a task force to complete the project including the PRA director, city administrator, business license official, representatives from the chamber of commerce board, city council, SBDC or SCORE, and local businesses.”
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