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Annual Meeting of the Partners Held at The Edge

Gina Simpson and AERN meeting participants
Gina Simpson, Director of The Edge, welcomes participants to the 2013 AERN annual meeting.
Mark Siciliano
Mark Siciliano, Bruno librarian, talks about library sources.
Mary Patterson (left), AERN Director, and Ron Davis, Executive Director of the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, address meeting participants.

AERN held its annual meeting of the partners at The Edge on August 9. Mary Patterson welcomed the partners and special guests to Tuscaloosa, and Gina Simpson (Director of The Edge) and Ron Davis (Executive Director of the Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute) explained the partnership between The University of Alabama's Culverhouse College of Commerce, the city of Tuscaloosa and the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama to create The Edge, a business resource center that offers strategic business alliances and networks to help entrepreneurs succeed in business start-ups and expansions. After a tour of The Edge, Jackie Smith, owner of The Coffee Shoppe in Selma, told the audience of her success in achieving the dream of owning her own business with the help of AERN resources in the Selma-Dallas County Chamber of Commerce. She complimented Ms. Smedley (Director of Chamber in Selma) and Ms. Patterson on providing instruction and support that resulted in the opening of her business which created 5 new jobs in Selma. Participants received instruction from Bruno Business Librarians Paul Brothers and Mark Siciliano on how to access research and use this valuable tool to write a business plan and grow a business. During lunch, Lisa Riley of ACCION, a microlender, presented information on accessing capital to start a business and improving a credit score. Other speakers included Ken DeWitt of DeWitt, LLC explaining how to get a grip on your business using the book, Traction, by Gino Wickman, and Ron Davis speaking on entrepreneurial opportunities in the auto supply chain in Alabama. Ms. Patterson concluded the meeting with an emphasis on engaging AERN to achieve results and create jobs in rural Alabama.

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