Tag: economic development
Businesses in Jefferson County will be able to apply for more money to help them combat the effects of COVID-19 if the County Commission approves a resolution being considered Thursday.
The resolution, presented by the Office of Community Services and Workforce Development, seeks up $1.15 million in supplemental funds for the county’s revolving loan fund grant from the state’s Economic Development Administration. Jefferson County commissioners in their committee meeting Tuesday decided to place the issue on the agenda for action Thursday. Read more.
The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to approve $680,949.46 in program funding for seven local organizations as part of Mayor Randall Woodfin’s Building Opportunities for Lasting Development initiative.
Adah International, the Birmingham Business Alliance, the Birmingham Business Resource Center, Jefferson State Community College, REV Birmingham, the Salvation Army, and the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham were the beneficiaries in Bold’s second year, following approval of the program’s “inaugural class” last November.
Several of the projects will help small businesses, with a focus on women-owned, minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses, while others will support underprivileged mothers and children and help residents improve their work skills. Read more.
Updated with video — Despite the “very, very strong” objection of Economic Development Chairman Steve Ammons, the Jefferson County Commission today established new guidelines for using money from the commission’s economic development fund.
In a roll call vote, Ammons voted a “very, very strong no” on a presented resolution. Commission President Jimmie Stephens joined Ammons in voting no, but the matter passed on the yes votes of Commissioners Lashunda Scales, Joe Knight and Sheila Tyson.
Scales offered a resolution at the last meeting that required spending from that fund to be approved by the full commission. Ammons asked that the matter be held over so that he and his staff could make a presentation about economic development. Commissioners agreed Tuesday for a special economic development committee meeting to take place Nov. 18, at which the presentation would take place.
In the meantime, Knight sent a draft of a resolution to his fellow commissioners to address how and when money can be used from the economic development fund. Scales offered that resolution as a substitution for the one she presented at the Oct. 24 meeting in Bessemer.
“This is not to be a fund for everyone to travel on,” Knight said. Read more.
Birmingham has gained attention for its downtown rebirth. But the Birmingham area economy still falls behind similar cities, particularly when it comes to job growth. A partnership announced in December between the city and the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think tank, aims to boost the Birmingham economy with an eye toward making those gains more equitable. Read more.
Lashunda Scales used a discussion of a possible development in Warrior to remind her fellow Jefferson County commissioners that there are other underdeveloped areas in the county.
Commissioner Steve Ammons agreed. “We have a lot out in McCalla. We don’t have as much opportunity in north Jefferson County. We’re trying to take those opportunities and distribute them,” he said. Read more.
A designer, a scuba diver, an art curator, a furniture maker. They all share something in common – seeking and receiving help with the business side of their creative work from the Co.Starters program of Create Birmingham.
The Co.Starters program – prompted by research and aimed at unlocking economic potential – has 200 graduates and a new class of 15 people following their dreams to turn their passions into sustainable and thriving small businesses.
With graduates pursuing the business side of everything from massage therapy to landscaping, Co.Starters is a 10-week business training program designed to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with insights, relationships and tools to turn their business ideas into action, said Buddy Palmer, CEO of Create Birmingham, the nonprofit that administers the program. The organization is dedicated to the development of Birmingham’s creative industries that contribute to economic growth as well as enhance quality of life.
The 15 students, who meet on Monday nights, represent the 17th Co.Starters class since the program began in 2014 after a comprehensive study of the area’s creative industries and occupations.
Gathered around a U-shaped table at Woodlawn’s Social Venture building, members of Co.Starters’ fall 2018 class take turns telling about their week’s highs and lows and the number of customer conversations they logged for the week.
“My high for this week is this,” says Co.Starters student Joy Smith. She shows a glossy page of Birmingham Magazine’s food issue, in which a tempting slice of cheesecake from Smith’s Sorelle catering business is pictured as one of the 40 best treats in Birmingham. Her classmates applaud, then tell about their week’s progress, contacts made and business plans drafted. Read more.
Long before she enrolled in Birmingham’s Co.Starters program, Kim Lee had the dream and business plan for what eventually became The Forge, a downtown professional coworking space on the mezzanine level of the historic Pizitz Building. Read more.
Jimmie Stephens went to the ends of the earth in pursuit of development opportunities for the county.
The Jefferson County Commission president returned from a recent trip to Japan with a cold and some hot leads toward reeling an international business development into the county.
Stephens said his trip Oct. 18-20 to Tokyo for the 41st annual joint meeting of the Japan-U.S. Southeast and Southeast U.S./Japan Associations was all about relationships. Read more.