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July 18, 2013

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AEDC renews entrepreneur program

Athens — The Athens Economic Development Corporation Board voted on Tuesday to fund $30,000 for a second edition of the Entrepreneurship Program.

The program was created as a partnership between AEDC and the Small Business Development Center to help individuals with ideas for starting a new business in Athens or taking an existing business in a new direction. The program premiered last spring, concluding with the awarding of grants to the top students.

SBDC Director Mike Ellsberry thanked AEDC for its support of the program and announced plans for the next round of classes to begin in September. Ellsberry said the class should run on Tuesday night for eight weeks, instead of the six weeks of classes during the first program.

“There just seemed to be a lot to cover,” Ellsberry said.

The first edition of the class had 18 students. Ellsberry said a smaller number might work better this time.

The AEDC board will be involved in setting the criteria for selecting the winner of the grant. it will present information to AEDC President Brian Malone and Ellsberry to finalize the plans. Malone said they could probably get a list of criteria together within a couple of weeks.

“Last time was our first time, so it was all a learning curve,” Malone said. “I think what we all want to do is develop things that are in keeping with our mission as the AEDC.”

Ellsberry said last year’s winner, Athens Bowling Center, met several of the criteria stated at the beginning of the course.

In other action, Malone reported on the financial state of the AEDC for the first nine months of the fiscal year. Sales tax revenue stands at $939,594,038 and is ahead of schedule. Total expenses are $884,592 of which $509,702 went to the economic development project.

Malone said a recent California trip resulted in 16 visits to businesses there and three revisits. Talks are still underway with some of the businesses there.

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