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Microbusiness Forum Explores Opportunities, Challenges for Entrepreneurs

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — The Alabama MicroEnterprise Network (AMEN) is holding a forum next week in Montgomery that will highlight the vital role that microbusinesses play in Alabama’s economy and help entrepreneurs identify strategies for success.

AMEN’s “Microbusiness Impact in Alabama” forum will take place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 28 at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 300 Tallapoosa Street in Montgomery. Speakers will focus on topics such as the importance of microbusinesses, overcoming financial challenges, and identifying economic trends affecting small enterprises.

Eddie Postell, manager of the Office of Small Business Advocacy at the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the vitality of microbusinesses across Alabama is a crucial factor in the state’s overall economic well-being. Commerce’s Office of Small Business Advocacy is a major sponsor of the AMEN forum.

“Alabama’s economy is improving,” Postell said. “Our current employment rate is 6.6 percent. From workers hired to taxes paid and spending generated, our micro businesses are proving to be an integral and driving force behind the state’s economic recovery.”

AMEN says microbusinesses are having a profound effect on Alabama’s economy.  The nearly 360,000 microenterprises in Alabama represent 88 percent of all businesses in the state, and microbusinesses account for 21 percent of all employment in Alabama, the group says.

AMEN says microbusinesses, which are defined as enterprises with fewer than five employees, including the owner, are involved in a full range of economic activities.

“With access to the right mix of capital and resources, Alabama microbusinesses could be the engine of job creation and economic recovery for Alabama,” AMEN President Gaynelle Adams Jackson said.

This is the third year for the AMEN microbusiness forum. After opening remarks from Adams Jackson, attendees will hear from these speakers:

  • Patricia Harris, board chair of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, whose topic is “Bigger Than You Think: The Impact of Microbusinesses on the US and Alabama Economies.”
  • Katherine Lucas McKay, associate director for government affairs for the Corporation for Enterprise Development, on “Strategies for Supporting Microbusiness Owners’ Financial Success.”
  • Dr. Sam Addy, director of the Center of Business and Economic Research, Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration at the University of Alabama, exploring “The State of Microbusiness in Alabama.”
  • Joyce Klein, director of the Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning, and Dissemination (FIELD) at the Aspen Institute, sharing her thoughts on “Microenterprise: Future Trends.”

The event will conclude with a panel discussion titled “Don’t Miss the Boat,” which focuses on access to capital, financial education, and training and business coaching, and closing remarks from AMEN Vice Chairman Grover Brown.

Besides Commerce’s Office of Small Business Advocacy, other sponsors of the forum are the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, the Alabama Asset Building Coalition, BB&T, Regions Bank, and Renasant Bank.

To register for the forum, click on this link.

AMEN is a 501c(3) organization that serves, educates, and empowers Alabama entrepreneurs and microbusiness development organizations. As an advocate for microbusinesses, AMEN seeks to build the case for policies and practices that support a progressive microenterprise development policy agenda.





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