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July Big Bad Business Series focuses on entrepreneurship, marketing

The Big Bad Business series will continue on Tuesday at the Powerhouse at 6 p.m., with a free entrepreneurship and marketing workshop hosted by Kate Rosson of 662 Marketing.

A partnership of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, the Big Bad Business series is a resource for local business owners, entrepreneurs and creators to develop their ideas into a sustainable business.

Meghan Gallagher, education and outreach coordinator for YAC, said this week’s presentation, titled “Getting Your Palms Sweaty with 662 Marketing,” will be especially helpful thanks to Rosson’s personal experiences.

“Kate Rosson had a whole career before she started her own small business, so she’s really going to be speaking about how starting a business involves some level of risk and what that’s like,” Gallagher said, “She also happens to have this wonderful marketing background.”

In addition to 662 Marketing, Rosson also founded www.parentsofolemiss.com, a resource for parents of college students to learn more about events at the university.

One of the main topics of discussion will be how to develop a social media presence to promote a small business. This is especially important, Gallagher said, because social media increases visibility among consumers.

“We have had a lot of people who’ve signed up because they are interested in how [Rosson] uses social media in her marketing for her small business,” she said. “In a small town like this, you can rely on word of mouth, but it helps to have a cohesive marketing plan for your small business so people can find you and you can get paid. It also helps to just connect and converse with customers.”

In terms of YAC’s involvement in the Big Bad Business series, Gallagher said she views workshops like this as a chance for individuals to examine their creativity and discover a way to make a living doing something they enjoy.

The series is part of the arts council’s Artist Incubator, which began in 2009 and evolved into quarterly events in 2014. YAC partnered with the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation in 2017, which allowed the workshops to be held monthly.

“Oxford has this wonderful, unique tradition rooted in the arts that makes it a wonderful place to live and visit. It just makes sense that, when we’re working with the EDF, we’re celebrating and supporting individuals and residents that want to stay and live and work in Oxford and develop a small business here,” Gallagher said. “One of the arts council’s main efforts is for people to look at the creative side of what they do and how that could possibly be something that earns them a livable wage.”

The arts community in Oxford brings in early $11 million in revenue annually, something Gallagher said can be attributed in part to programs like the Big Bad Business series. The market for all types of art, from painting to pottery to music, is thriving in the LOU Community, she said.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the Mississippi Arts Commission help support the Big Bad Business Series, with the NEA awarding over $47,000 through the ArtWorks granting program.

The next Big Bad Business Series workshop on August 21 at 7 p.m. It will be a “Round Robin” meeting, where participants will be able to sign up for 20-minute sessions with a variety of small business experts.

For more information, visit http://oxfordarts.com.