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ASU launches institute

By By Kerry Whipple Bean
publisher

Alabama State University’s Southern Normal campus in Brewton is taking another step toward filling the needs of the community.
The school launched its Rural Business Opportunity Program Saturday with its first economic development institute session and a ribbon cutting for a new library and learning lab devoted to small business resources.
The project has been funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
At Saturday’s institute, participants heard from Lorenza Patrick, director of ASU’s small business development center, who gave an overview of economic development planning. Future institute sessions will focus on topics such as strategic planning for economic development and small business development.
State Rep. Thad McClammy, a former university official who was involved in the acquisition of the Southern Normal campus, said the project extends Southern Normal’s outreach to the community.
The school also opened a new library and computer lab that will be open to community members interested in learning more about starting or maintaining a small business. The library has manuals on starting a variety of businesses.
Dr. RoseMary Watkins, Southern Normal director, said the school has the grant for the institute for one year, but the library and computer lab will be permanent fixtures at the school.