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AERN Entrepreneurial Centers receive Updated Computer Resources

Bontrager, Patterson, Crump, and Thornell
L.-r.: Mr. Chris Bontrager; Ms. Mary Patterson (Director, AERN); Ms. Kaite Crump; and Mr. David Thornell, President, all of C3 of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance

Innovation is growing in rural Alabama, and the month of January brought improved access to the technology needed by local entrepreneurs to develop business plans. With funding provided by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and support from The University of Alabama, AERN provided new computers, software and additional print resources to seven entrepreneurial centers in Bibb, Chambers, Fayette, Pickens, Macon, Marion and Tallapoosa Counties. These new resources will allow local entrepreneurs to use Business Plan Pro software to design and/or improve their business plan and print it while working in the local entrepreneurial centers in these counties.

In addition to the computer resources, the centers received additional volumes of Business Plans Handbook to add to their collection of printed resources. Additionally, Import/Export Kit for Dummies by John J. Capela was added to provide a hands-on, friendly guide to small business owners interested in importing and exporting goods. This resource offers a valuable way to expand a business and take part in the global economy,

Patterson and Cook
L.-r.: Ms. Mary Patterson, Director, AERN, and Ms. Valerie Cook, Director, Bibb County Chamber of Commerce

Another resource that was added to the print collection was The Food Truck Handbook by David Weber to introduce budding entrepreneurs to the food truck business. This business has a relatively low cost of entry as compared to starting a restaurant and has free and low-cost ways to market to the masses via platforms like social media. Food truck businesses have become increasingly popular and this book includes profiles of successful food trucks, detailing their operations, profitability, and how to scale this business.

Ed Collari, President and CEO of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, commented on the value of the AERN resources, "It's a wonderful tool and asset to the Lake Martin Innovation Center. Our goal is to provide resources to help local businesses succeed, and the AERN (center) is a key feature in that initiative."

Patterson, Crane
L.-r.: Ms. Mary Patterson, Director, AERN; Ms. Ashley Crane, Executive Director, Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce
Lewis, Patterson
L.-r.: Ms. France Lewis, Director, Aliceville Public Library; Ms. Mary Patterson, Director, AERN
Patterson, Grice
L.-r.: Ms. Mary Patterson, Director, AERN; Ms. Vicky Grice, Executive Director, Tuskegee-Macon County Community Development Corporation
Patterson, Meachum
L.-r.: Ms. Mary Patterson, Director, AERN; Mr. Jacob Meachum, Vice President of Business Development, Alexander City Chamber of Commerce

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