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COLUMBUS, Miss. — Bringing together business, government, agencies, industry and academic representatives, a Nov. 6 conference organized by the SMARTbiz program of Mississippi University for Women’s Center for Creative Entrepreneurship will provide strategic tips and resources for business owners. It is co-sponsored with the Community Development Foundation and the Three Rivers Planning and Development District.

Titled “SMARTbiz Entrepreneurial Regional Conference: Strategies for Succe$$,” the 8 a.m.-noon event at the Belden Center of Itawamba Community College is free to participants who register in advance. The conference targets small business entrepreneurs particularly in Calhoun, Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Monroe, Pontotoc and Union counties.

“Strategies for Succe$$” will feature local, regional and statewide business experts speaking on topics that include product, pricing and promotion, as well as how regionalism can be prosperous for business in the area. Special emphasis will be placed on the small business economy and the outlook in today’s market conditions. Opportunities to network with industry procurement specialists also will be available throughout the conference.

Speakers include David Raumbarger, CEO of the Community Development Foundation; Bill Burge, executive director of the Northeast Mississippi Contract Procurement Center; Carrie Snyder of Snyder & Co., Randy Kelly, executive director of Three Rivers Planning and Development District; and Kathy Kurr, an MUW alumnus and owner of Oxford-based No Time 2 Cook.

Other local business leaders and panelists include Brian Hawkins of Hawkeye Industries and Lisa Hawkins of Room to Room. Bubba Weir, vice president for Innovation Resources, will serve as emcee.

Lucy Betcher, director of the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship, said that a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs “will bring wisdom on the ‘make it or break it issues they have experienced and how they handled them on their journey to success.”

“The conference will focus on owners who have been in business for a year or more and need help making it grow,” said Bridget VanHolland-Williams, training coordinator for the Center. “With today’s economy, we want to reach out to business owners, especially new ones, to give them the help they may need but not know how to obtain.”

Vendors represented at the conference include Northeast Mississippi Contract Procurement Center, Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi Technology Alliance, Regions Bank, Community Development Foundation, The Itawamba County Development Council, K-Gray Financials, Tech Guyz, Three Rivers Planning and Development and Tom Robinson and Associates.

SMARTbiz was developed by entrepreneurs and provides real-time specific solutions to real-time problems faced by business owners in their day-to-day operations. The participants receive individualized guidance to optimize their operational soundness and profitability.

To register for the event, call the Community Development Foundation at 662-842-4521; or contact the Center for Creative Entrepreneurship at 662-241-6273; email wceinfo@muw.edu.

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