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Chamber unveils Vicksburg Entrepreneur Bootcamp program

The Vicksburg Warren Chamber of Commerce announced Friday the launch of a new program to support entrepreneurs in Vicksburg and Warren County.

The program, named the Vicksburg Entrepreneur Bootcamp, is a six-week program geared toward individuals interested in starting or growing their small business. The program will cover everything from legal, finance, accounting, marketing, and all other essential components associated with starting and running a successful small business.

It is sponsored by the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce, the city of Vicksburg, Hinds Community College, and area banks including BancorpSouth, Mutual Credit Union, Home Bank, River Hills Bank, Regions, Guaranty Bank, and Trustmark.

“The program is aimed at generating more small business openings in the area. This program will take new or soon-to-be entrepreneurs through a process that will allow them to be better prepared to decide before they make an investment if their business idea is likely to succeed in the marketplace,” said Sheila McKinnis, chairwoman of the Vicksburg Warren Chamber of Commerce. “We sure want more small businesses to open, but the most important thing we want to help them accomplish is to be able to keep that business open for a long time while making a good profit year over year.”

At the end of the program, entrepreneurs will be encouraged to finalize their business plan and submit it to a committee for review and ranking. The entrepreneur who develops the best and most feasible business plan will receive a “Seed Grant” of $1,000 to help them with the cost of opening or improving their small business.

“Small businesses are the foundation of our city and they provide thousands of jobs for our residents. The city is 100 percent behind this program because we want to encourage our own residents to start their small businesses,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said. “We have plenty of opportunities for businesses to be successful in Vicksburg, either in downtown, in any of the retail corridors, or even from their own homes.

“I believe Vicksburgers have what it takes and, if you are out there thinking about it and are not yet a hundred percent sure, this is the program that will help you make an informed decision and move forward,” Flaggs said. “I appreciate the banking community’s support for helping the program get started and I hope to soon be cutting many more ribbons in the city of Vicksburg because of it.”

Dr. Jeff Holland, president of the Warren County Board of Supervisors added, “This program is an essential part of economic development for our community. It represents a wonderful jumpstart toward the types of things we are planning to highlight as part of our efforts at the Thad Cochran Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology (MCITy) starting in the fall of 2021.”

Participants will also benefit from working with a business coach and listening to keynote speakers during sessions, which will include successful entrepreneurs, bankers, accountants and lawyers among others.

The program is set to begin Oct. 6.

The classes will be taught each Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Hinds Community College Workforce Training Center. The deadline to register for this class is Oct. 2.

Those wanting to participate can register online at www.vicksburgusa.com/entrepreneur, by contacting the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce at 601-636-1012 or by email at info@vicksburgusa.com