Things are not going very well in Calhoun County Alabama. The January unemployment rate jumped to 8.1% from 6.8 in December. The workforce in Calhoun County shrunk by almost 1,100 workers. The total civilian labor force in the county also decreased by 421 people. Even the county’s population shrank by 1,276 people between 2010 and 2012. In Etowah County, the unemployment rate spiked to 7.9% from 6.5% in December. And with the looming layoffs coming at the Anniston Army Depot and General Dynamics. Things are not looking very well in Calhoun County. For me, I have been unemployed for 21 months now! If nothing changes it will be two years since I have been unemployed.
Now a group of bankers and investors are doing something to help create jobs in Calhoun County. Private investors and banks have committed one million dollars to help aspiring entrepreneurs start their business ventures. This idea is modeled around the ABC show Shark Tank. John Wheeler came up with an idea to help create jobs in Calhoun County. He said, ”There’s a real long background of Entrepreneurs in this town and we were losing our way and we needed to get something to give us momentum to get that spirit back.”
Noble Bank and Trust, Southern States Bank, Cheaha Bank, John Wheeler, and six other investors are committing one million dollars to help small business owners get started. Called the The Advantage Capital Enterprise System, the program would give entrepreneurs up to 100-thousand dollars to start a business. Along with the money to start a business, the program would also provide counseling and advice for people from the JSU small business center.
The Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce’s Operation 1st Rate Program is also involved in this program. They say there are well over a thousand people looking for work in Calhoun County. And I can believe that, I have been out of work for 21 months! Small businesses do work where-ever you go! According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small business significantly affects Alabama’s economy, representing 96.9 percent of all employers and employing 49 percent of the private-sector labor force.
A review council of the investors will make the ultimate decision on whether to lend money to a particular entrepreneur, and becoming partners in the venture. If you want to learn more about this program, you can pick up an application at the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, the job station at Quintard Mall, the JSU Small Business Development Center and the Northeast Alabama Entrepreneurial Center. You can also call the call the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce at 256-237-3536.
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