By Talbert Toole
From textiles, inventions or even paintings turned board games, the Big Bad Business series offers workshops to inspiring small businesses owners to learn the technical aspects of succeeding in today’s day and age.
Hosted by the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation (EDF), in partnership with the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, the series is an entrepreneur and mentoring program helping individuals turn ideas into sustainable small businesses through challenge meetings and action sessions.
On Monday, June 10, LOU community members who have big ideas can attend the Big Bad Business Series to learn how to be a business owner. The event begins at 6 p.m. at the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce.
This session will cover intellectual property law and freelance tax issues. The program will host Michael Mosher, associate director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at the University of Mississippi, along with Reed Ingram, who will lead the discussion about taxes.
The program was born out of the EDF’s need for entrepreneurial support to focus on businesses and startups, said Allen Kurr, vice president of EDF.
“We started our program a few years ago by providing business resources to our startups,” Kurr said.
From accounting to legal to financial help, the program aims to help entrepreneurs with the help they needed to grow their business, he said.
The relationship and partnership between the EDF and YAC started two years ago because the EDF believes that the arts are a very sustainable sector in Oxford and has the largest potential for growth, according to Kurr. Since the beginning of the partnership, the EDF and YAC have hosted 25 different workshops that impacted well over 100 entrepreneurs in the LOU community.
“Our main goal is ‘how do we provide business resources to artists to be able to make a sustainable business model out of their art?'” Kurr said.
Although the Big Bad Business Series is targeted toward artists in the LOU community, Kurr said the program and its resources are open to anyone.
“If you are in the technology sector or if you are a restauranter or even if you are in manufacturing, you can find some kind of resource that will help you grow your business at the Big Bad Business Series,” Kurr said.
Wayne Andrews, director of YAC, said his organization started taking their regular programs like art exhibits and tried to figure out to relate them to business programs.
As artists showed interests in YAC’s exhibits, Andrews said they began to direct those artists to the Big Bad Business Series to help them learn how to market their work in such a large community like Oxford.
“As an artist, you might not make it [in Oxford],” Andrews said. “As a creative… you might.”
The program is set to host more events this coming year. The next event will be during the last week of July. LOU community members can also mark their calendars for Aug. 13 for “Round Robin Consultation Sessions.” This session will allow local businesses to schedule one-on-one meetings with local resources that will include professionals in the legal, tax, marketing and finance spectrums.
The end of the year program session is scheduled for Sept. 10 and is entitled “Oxford Night of Genius.” The final session will allow local small businesses and entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to the LOU community, receive feedback and make connections to grow their businesses.
For more information on the Big Bad Business Series, visit the program’s Facebook page; for more information on the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, visit their website; and for more information on events and programs in the LOU community, visit the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council’s website.