Entrepreneur Networking Event - July 30, 2019

Entrepreneur networking event held on July 30th at Commercial Bank 

By Miranda M. Cantrell

Sustainable Business Ventures Corporation of Lexington and Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation of London hosted an entrepreneur resource provider gathering on Tuesday, July 30, at Commercial Bank.

Initiative Objectives
Approximately 20 people attended the event, which was organized to encourage small business startups and to assist entrepreneurs in the expansion of existing endeavors.

Sustainable Business Ventures President Bobby Clark addressed local attendees as well as several people participating remotely via video conference in Harlan and Middlesboro.

“We are trying to establish an entrepreneurial mindset in these communities,” Clark said. “Our goal is to help people create their own jobs through selfemployment, and offer them training for business plans, etc. Entrepreneurship is about hope, and we want to educate small business owners about all of the services that are available to them.”

Clark noted that another core objective of the program is to create a statewide “entrepreneur ecosystem” designed to connect business owners with mentors, investors, consultants throughout the Commonwealth.

In addition to Clark, event speakers included Shelton Ansley of the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, Amanda Kelly of Southeast Kentucky Economic Development (SKED), Mark Murphy of Morehead State University’s Small Business Development Center, Robert Donnan of the Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities (E2C) Initiative, and Bill Schutters of the U.S. Small Business Adminsitration’s SCORE program.

Local Contributions
The entrepreneur networking initiative has been bolstered by contributions from two local donors, Commercial Bank and Licking Valley RECC.

In the aftermath of the 2012 and subsequent rebuilding of the Commercial Bank’s main branch building, the financial institution’s board of directors opted to create a business development space within the new facility.

Additionally, bank officials committed $10,000 for technology to equip the space.

Commercial Bank President Brock Litteral said during the July 30 event that bank’s board of directors and management decided to use a portion of the insurance monies from the previous building’s destruction to establish the business development space, and to construct the frequently-utilitzed community room.

“This has been a long project in the making,” Litteral said. “We wanted to do our part as civic leaders and felt that business development would be one way for us to give back to the community.”

The business development space will be available for use sometime after Labor Day.

Bobby Clark thanked Commercial Bank’s management and board of directors – including CEO Hank Allen, who was not in attendance – for their contribution to the initiative.

Licking Valley RECC officials have also contributed $30,000 to the initiative for upcoming entrepreneur training sessions.

Funds provided by LVRECC were gleaned from East Kentucky Power for the purpose of assisting unemployed coal miners, a targeted demographic of Clark’s initiative.

LVRECC Administrative Services Manager John May told the Courier that his organization was had been seeking ways to utilize these funds.

“We have had this money for a couple years,” May said. “The funds were intended to assist displaced coal miners in training for new jobs, or for continuing their education. We would like to see people in our service area will take advantage of this program and hope our contribution will make a positive impact.”

Upcoming Events
Clark said that the abovementioned contribution from LVRECC will be used to fund an entrepreneur training initiative known as the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, based on the book “Who Owns The Ice House: Eight Life Lessons From An Unlikely Entrepreneur” by Clifton Taulbert and Gary Schoeniger.

The Ice House program will span five sessions, the first of which will be held 5:30-7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, in Commercial Bank’s community room located at 550 Main St.

Subsequent sessions will be held on Sept. 3, Sept. 9, Sept. 16 and Sept. 23 at Commercial Bank and will be live video to be streamed to locations in Harlan, Middlesboro and Barbourville.

The following is a brief synopsis of the book “Who Owns The Ice House?” from the social networking website for readers known as Goodreads: “In the late 1950s, Glen Allan, Mississippi, was a poor cotton community. For many, it was a time and place where opportunities were limited by social and legal constraints that were beyond their control. It was a time and place where few dared to dream. Based on his own life experience, Pulitzer nominee Clifton Taulbert has teamed up with entrepreneur thought leader Gary Schoeniger to create a powerful and compelling story that captures the essence of an entrepreneurial mindset and the unlimited opportunities it can provide.” Ice House Entrepreneur Program literature states that participants who complete the training course will learn the following:
• How to identify and evaluate opportunities that others overlook.
• How to transform a simple idea into a sustainable success.
• How to embrace an entrepreneurial mindset.
• How to identify and overcome self-limiting beliefs.
• How to interact with local entrepreneurs for critical guidance and support.

The first 30 program registrants will receive a free copy of the book.

Additional Information To register for Ice House Entrepreneur Program, visit the event information webpage at https://icehousewestliberty.eventbrite.com. For additional information, contact Bobby Clark at 859- 227-0263, or email the address sbvclark@gmail.com.

Licking Valley Courier Aug 8 2019_Entrepreneur Resource Providers Gathering.pdf