Flaggs wants to encourage local entrepreneurship

Published 7:53 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. wants to develop an annual symposium on entrepreneurship as a way to attract and keep people in the area.

“We’re going to look at getting with United Way, the Small Business Administration and the (Vicksburg) Young Professionals to try and coordinate one with the city at the (Vicksburg) auditorium,” he said.

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Flaggs’ comments come after a meeting Monday afternoon with area bankers to discuss ways of encouraging entrepreneurship in the city.

“I wanted to see how we could pull the financial institutions together to create an opportunity for more financial capital to start a business and it seemed like each of the institutions had a pretty good idea (of business) and they’re helping (people),” he said. “It just seemed like we would be better off if we have a financial symposium on entrepreneurship and financial literacy.”

Flaggs has been pushing entrepreneurship in the city as one of his goals to improve the area’s economy by bringing in small business.

“That’s just one way to recoup and retain young people to come to Vicksburg; the millennials that stay and come back to Vicksburg.

During the Monday discussions, some bankers suggested the city consider a program to help starting entrepreneurs with financial assistance similar to the city’s first time homebuyer program where first time homebuyers receive help with the down payment for their home.

“Most of the young people who come in, don’t have the capital (to get a loan to start a business),” he said. “One of the ways we could help assist them is creating down payment assistance for them, but I’m not there yet.”

Another banker said the city at one time had a business incubator, but it closed for lack of participation.

“That’s where we came up with the idea of the symposium,” he said.

Flaggs said he is getting calls from people who want to start a business, “And they have some brilliant ideas, but they don’t have the resources. This (the symposium) will help them.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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