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News EDC launches revamped website and begins to prepare for biz week 2012

Tommy Dennison, far right, explains to EDC members about what Southwestern Community College is doing to increase entrepreneurship in Western North Carolina. Dennison is the business and industry training coordinator at SCC.With a lot of help from Tony Angel, of Tony Angel Media, Macon County’s Economic Development Commission has a revamped website with a variety of new features designed to assist existing businesses in Franklin, while also promoting more investment in the area.

When the Economic Development Director, Tommy Jenkins, showcased the website’s new features to the EDC board last Tuesday evening, Feb. 21, members were impressed. “I think that’s the best economic development website I’ve ever seen,” said county manager Jack Horton.

The website promotes Macon County by giving an overview of the county’s infrastructure, and lists information for business leaders looking to locate or relocate to the area. The site also has a list of rental properties available in Macon County, as well as other business services entrepreneurs may find useful. The website can be accessed online at http://www.maconedc.com/.

The new website is being unveiled at an opportune time for Macon County entrepreneurs, as the EDC board is hosting a business week April 9-12 to honor local business leaders and entrepreneurs. The business week will feature an entrepreneur networking night, a business seminar at Southwestern Community College, and an EDC banquet at Holly Springs Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. The banquet’s keynote speaker will be Keith Crisco, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Instead of sending out invitations through conventional mailing, the revamped website will allow business leaders and entrepreneurs to file their registration forms online.

Jenkins is also planning on doing something to show the county’s appreciation for local manufacturers during the business week, he said. “We have a small manufacturing base, but they are really important to us,” said Jenkins. “I think it’s time we do something to show that we appreciate them, especially since they have experienced so much adversity in the past couple of years,” he said. More details on the event will be announced next month.

Jenkins was also glad to report that the county’s business development center is full. With the addition of Innovative Energy Solutions to the business center last month, the utilization of the facility is at its maximum. “That’s where we want to be,” said Jenkins. “We will review all of the leases at the end of the year, and hopefully some of the businesses will be able to fly on their own. That’s what we want,” he said. The business development center enables local businesses to occupy commercial space at a subsidized price.

In collaboration with the Board of Commissioners, the EDC Board drafted a letter endorsing a dialysis center in Macon County. The board voted unanimously to send the letter to Mr. Craig Smith with the Division of Health Service Regulation with the state of North Carolina at last Tuesday’s meeting. The certificate of need application to develop a seven-station end state renal disease dialysis center in Franklin, North Carolina should be finalized by DaVita Inc., soon. The commission has endorsed this effort of putting such a center in Macon County, which would allow Maconians needing dialysis services three times a week to get treatment at home, rather than traveling over Cowee Mountain to Sylva.

Commission members then welcomed Tommy Dennison, the business and industry training coordinator at Southwestern Community College, to their board meeting. Dennison informed commission members about Southwestern’s role in helping people start businesses in Western North Carolina, and their institution’s plan to host several small business seminars in the next several months. Dennison discussed Southwestern’s partnership with Macon County’s Economic Development Commission as well, explaining that their collaboration is instrumental for people trying to start their own business in a risky economy.

Dennison later told commission members that his visit to Whitley Products, a business located in the county’s business development center, was productive. Dennison and Jenkins visited Whitley earlier last Tuesday. Dennison, along with Jenkins, will be working on workforce training initiatives with Whitley Products, and they plan on doing something similar with Caterpillar at some point.

For inquires about business week or the Macon County Economic Develop Commission, please contact Tommy Jenkins at 828- 369-2306.


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