MONTGOMERY— The University of Alabama will expand access to the resources it provides to entrepreneurs in west Alabama thanks to a $75,000 grant announced by Gov. Robert Bentley.
The Appalachian Regional Commission grant will enable the university’s Alabama Entrepreneurial Research Network to open new centers in Hale and Lamar counties and support existing centers in seven other counties.
“Expanding business opportunities in low-income rural areas of Alabama is essential for creating jobs and improving the quality of life,” Bentley said. “I commend the university for partnering with local governments and chambers of commerce in west Alabama to help residents turn ideas into viable businesses.”
At the entrepreneurial research centers, current and prospective entrepreneurs can access information and receive support to help them develop business plans and secure private investment funds for starting or expanding their businesses. Centers currently operate in Macon, Pickens, Bibb, Chambers, Tallapoosa, Fayette and Marion counties. The university provides center staff members with training in business consultation.
The grant funds announced by Bentley will purchase office equipment, business-related books and software for the new centers in Hale and Lamar counties. Matching funds of $34,012 will supplement the grant.
The Appalachian Regional Commission was established in 1965 as a supplemental grant program to raise the standard of living, improve the quality of life and promote economic development in the Appalachian mountain region. The region includes 37 Alabama counties.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs manages the ARC program in Alabama. ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, workforce development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.
Contact: Russell Sellers, Larry Childers