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Small Business

Chasing Employment Dreams, Championing Small Businesses and Chilling Out

MOBILE, Alabama – Today’s the day, folks.

Throw on your most professional ensemble, give yourself a little pep talk in the bathroom mirror and head on down to the Mobile Civic Center Expo Hall for the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission’s 16th Annual Business Expo & Jobs Fair.

The five-hour window that could change your life begins at 9 a.m., and organizers are expecting a crowd on par with last year’s 3,500 job seekers from seven states.

In addition to highlighting employment and training opportunities with some of the region’s top companies, the annual event also gives employers the chance to network with community leaders while marketing products and services. The job fair portion will also feature a series of free workshops for job seekers covering everything from resume development and networking techniques to interviewing skills and one-on-one consultations.

For more information, click here, and good luck!

Money, money, money, money

Local entrepreneurs considering a bid for National Institutes of Health grant funding need look no further than the Mitchell Cancer Institute Friday, May 2 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The agency-specific workshop is the latest in a series intended to help small, high-tech companies secure federal funding and is being offered jointly by the University of South Alabama’s Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama’s Alabama Launchpad program.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the cost is $50 for Alabama residents and $100 for out-of-state participants.

This targeted workshop will be led by representatives from Greenwood Consulting, focusing heavily on specific NIH awards, key factors in succeeding within that program and specific examples. In addition, paying attendees will be given the opportunity to have Greenwood review their grant proposal anytime within one year of the workshop.

For more information, click here.

Welcome to Foley

Local entrepreneurs and veterans Doug Portrey and Rob Tarr have opened the first of two Rita’s Italian Ice locations in Foley at 2654 South McKenzie St., with the second slated to open its doors May 8 at Foley West on Alabama Highway 59, directly across the street from the Tanger Outlet.

As part of the May 8 grand opening festivities, the new Rita’s in Foley will be offering complimentary Regular Rita’s Ice for the whole community to try, and the first 50 guests will win Rita’s Italian Ice for one year.

To date, the pair has hired 15 with plans to employ 50 in the Foley area, alone.

Sharon Wright with White-Spunner Realty represented the landlord in the most recent transaction, while Jean Jean Lankford with J.A. Lankford represented the tenant.

“Rita’s veteran-owned franchise opportunities honor those men and women who have served in the U.S. military with financial incentives and, veterans Doug and Rob can now expand our brand in Alabama to more Rita’s fans,” said Jeff Moody, chief executive officer of Rita’s Franchise Co.

Mark your calendars

In case you missed it, take a very close look at the comprehensive slate of events scheduled for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Mobile Area Small Business Week slated for May 12-15.

From a resource fair and three workshops to an awards ceremony honoring Jim Busby, chairman and chief operating officer of CentraLite Systems Inc., the chamber seeks to remind small business owners how crucial their operations are to a healthy and thriving local economy.

May 1, 2014

Kelli Dugan | By Kelli Dugan |

Kelli Dugan is a business reporter in Alabama Media Group’s Mobile hub, focusing primarily on aerospace and workforce development, but taking an occasional detour. Business Before Breakfast is an attempt to catch readers up on a variety of items while offering insights into the inner-workings of some of coastal Alabama’s more interesting industries. The column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. She can be reached at

Small Business

Mobile Area Small Business Week Promises Array of Workshops, Resources May 12-15

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