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Oxford Night of Genius event open to all entrepreneurs

The Big Bad Business Series, presented in partnership with the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, is wrapping up its nine-month-long program that offered several programs to help entrepreneurs get their business off the ground and help understand the often daunting process of starting a business.

The program concludes at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Powerhouse during the inaugural Oxford Night of Genius event.

Since January, Big Bad Business workshops have been helping tackle these complex topics and breaking them down into manageable challenges.

“The Big Bad Business Series assist entrepreneurs at any stage of the business life cycle learn a new skill or make a new connection. By joining this central hub of interconnected entrepreneurs, participants can access the business development resources they need to grow their ventures,” said Allen Kurr, Vice President of the Economic Development Foundation.

Without previous experience in small business, developing that network of small business experts, mentors and cheerleaders can sometimes seem like trying to crack open a secret society. You don’t have to know a secret handshake to attend the Oxford Night of Genius.

“All are welcome to attend Night of Genius,” said Meghan Gallagher, one of the organizers. “It’s a free community event.”

Night of Genius is a new way for entrepreneurs to receive constructive feedback on a business idea from a panel of small business experts. Unlike a formal business pitch, the presentation includes the “Who? What? Why? When? Where? And How?” formula so the experts can help a participant take their business idea to active businesses.

There will five presenters at the event who attended a workshop Monday with JoAnn Edwards of the Trent Lott Leadership Institute to help hone their presentations.

Participants, however, won’t receive relics for the most promising business ideas. The chamber and YAC have teamed up with community partners to develop business service packages that help them go from idea to action. Office space at the Edison co-working space, chamber membership and attorney fees for filing incorporation papers are just some of the assistance one can receive.

Gallagher said some of the highlights of the last year included a community-supported artist program and exhibited in July featured working artists developing small business revenue; a seminar by Julia Winston of Brave Communications who talked about knowing your customer and honing the experience to serve them and in August, participants took part in a round-robin event featuring eight experts who gave one-on-one, half-hour consultations with entrepreneurs.

YAC and the Chamber will team up again to bring the Big Bad Business Series back in 2018, Gallagher said.

The Big Bad Business Series and Arts Incubator receive funding in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works program and from the Mississippi Arts Commission.

For more information, call 662-236-6429.