With some hope that the economy is improving and anticipating the benefits of Tanglefoot Trail, now is a time that some are thinking about starting a new business or upgrading an existing business.
What many may not know is that free, practical, confidential help is available through the Mississippi Small Business Development Center.
Serving the local area in cooperation with the University of Mississippi is Union County native Dana Cawthon.
Cawthon is a 1987 graduate of W. P. Daniel High School and joined the U.S. Air Force at age 18, serving four years in Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf war. She worked in the maintenance operation center which had part of the ground control of 125 F-16 fighter jets. She was honorably discharged after receiving several service medals and used the GI Bill to attend the University of Mississippi where she received a B.S. degree in accounting and later got an MBA in executive leadership from the University of Denver Daniels School of Business.
“I owned my own business, Dana Cawthon and Associates, a management consulting and accounting firm,” she said.
She had worked as a financial advisor with a CPA’s office but then decided to return home to Mississippi in November this past year.
“I was looking to be a PhD candidate at the University of Mississippi,” she said. But UM did not have the program of development and economics she wanted so they are working on creating that now.
In the meantime, she is working with the university’s small business development center.
“You cannot have a successful small business community without entrepreneurial activity and local government support,” she said.
Not a lot of people know about the services she offers so she is planning local seminars to remedy that.
“The number of companies failing in Mississippi is concerning to me,” she said. “It is imperative that we help companies, especially in this time of recession.”
What sort of help does Cawthon offer?
She can assist enterprises in properly preparing financial statements, marketing, strategy, growth, projections and finding new customers.
Resources are available to help with business plans, market analysis, access to capital sources, location identification, federal loan programs and other managerial and technical support services.
Again, these are free and confidential. “And there is no fixed amount of time I spend with a company,” Cawthon said. “It is whatever time is needed.”
“I see great opportunities for the North Mississippi area,” she said. “I feel that we have a unique selling opportunity.”
“Profit is the queen of business, and cash is king,” she said.
To contact Cawthon, call 662-296-3735 or toll-free in Mississippi 1-800-725-7232, or email EconomicDevelopment@olemiss.edu. More information is available at their website, www.mssbdc.org. There is also a business assistance center at The Renasant Center for IDEAs at 398 E. Main St. in Tupelo (662-680-6988).
SIDEBAR OR BOX
Introduction to Mississippi Small Business Development Center
The UCDA will be sponsoring a series of workshops available to the general public and free to the community. Come find out how to apply for one –on-one counseling and benefit from the free services offered from the MS Small Business Development Center. Workshop topics with dates and times, and registration can be found at www.mssbdc.org.
This introductory seminar is designed to introduce existing business owners, entrepreneurs, and community leaders to the services offered by business counselors from the Mississippi Small Business Development Center (state office located in Oxford, MS).
The tentative date for the first seminar is Tuesday, Aug. 13, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (Networking starts at 8:00a.m.) at the Magnolia Civic Center in New Albany.
To register, call (662) 296-3735 or (800) 725-7232 or go online www.mssbdc.org