Entrepreneurs get help

Published 10:34 am Saturday, April 24, 2010

FRANKLIN—People traveling through Franklin may have noticed a large bus with a satellite dish atop at various places in town on Wednesday.

The bus, owned by Virginia State University and used by the school for various outreach programs, was on-hand to help offer assistance to people who are either considering starting a new business, or are looking for ways to improve an existing one.

“We help people start their business or help them grow their existing businesses,” Tammy Farmer, business services manager with the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, said Wednesday. “We’re out here today at thinking about some of the folks who might want to take an opportunity to start their own business.”

Farmer said her organization had distributed 300 flyers in Franklin, and had plans to give out 200 more, promoting next week’s Entrepreneur Express workshop at the Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Center. The event is Wednesday, April 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and is sponsored by the VDBA, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Hampton Roads Small Business Development Center.

Virginia State converted the old school bus — which was parked first in front of Fred’s Restaurant, then the International Paper Co. mill and finally the Franklin Wal-Mart on Wednesday — into the current computer center on wheels. It contains 12 laptops and has a $27,000 satellite system for accessing the Internet.

“I’m impressed with the bus, with their computers and the satellite and all that it can do,” Franklin Business Incubator Nancy Parrish said Wednesday. “I think this is an exiciting opportunity for our people here. I hope that the people that came today will join us next week for Entrepreneur Express. There’s a wealth of resources out here that are free that we hope people will take advantage of.”

Officially named “The Bus Stop,” Wednesday’s event was sponsored by Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc., the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Franklin Association, and the Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Center, along with the Small Business Administration.