Chamber hosts program seeking ideas, promoting entrepreneurs

Published 7:39 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce Monday turned to area business owners for suggestions to attract and support entrepreneurs in Vicksburg and Warren County.

“We have a component that is important (in the strategic plan) and we believe potentially is underserved, which is entrepreneurship,” said Pablo Diaz president and CEO of the Vicksburg Warren Economic Development Partnership.

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Entrepreneurship is one of the elements of the county’s economic development strategic plan, Diaz said after the meeting.

He said Monday afternoon’s program was designed to listen to suggestions from the area’s business community to develop a program that would best serve entrepreneurs in the area.

Dr. Jeffery Holland, chairman of the Warren County Economic Development Foundation, pointed out Monday the chamber has two objectives. It has to consider when developing a program. He pointed out the chamber had to find a way to attract entrepreneurs. And develop a program to support, assist and encourage them to take the next step.

Other suggestions ranged from using entrepreneurship programs already available to the public, to developing a mentor system to work with entrepreneurs to help them get started, and programs to link entrepreneurs with existing companies and programs.

Diaz pointed out that the types of people interested in starting a business will vary, adding an entrepreneur with a technical background who wants to work with the U.S. Army Engineer Research an Development Center has a different set of requirements than someone looking to open a business like a restaurant.

He said after the meeting that information will be used to develop a program that will be presented to the chambers’ Board of Directors “for further discussions of what programs we want to ‘kick start’ to support entrepreneurship (programs).

“We’re trying to define what is the right program to fit the community,” he said. “We wanted to listen to the community. Before we come up with a program, we want to make sure it fits the need.”

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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