Workshops designed to help small businesses

Published 12:30 pm Saturday, April 23, 2022

Oxford comes alive with energy during Double Decker week, and front and center are the amazing small businesses that make the community unique, drawing so many to the area. Creative small businesses from restaurants and retail storefronts to the arts-based booths and vendors can grow their small businesses at Double Decker Festival and by participating in upcoming April Big Bad Business workshops on social media and photography.

Join the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council (YAC) and the Oxford-Lafayette Economic Development Foundation (EDF) on Monday, April 25, at 6 p.m. at the Edison Co-working Space on University Avenue for a workshop tackling best practices on social media. Emily Suber, founder of Lucky Elephant Social, will lead the session with tips, tricks, and trends for small business owners wanting to build their online communication skills.

“Social media is changing all the time, and this is by far one of the most sought-after topics by entrepreneurs. People want to work smarter, not harder, and using social media effectively can build sales and awareness of a business,” said Wayne Andrews, executive director of YAC.

On Saturday, Sept. 30 from 3 to 5 p.m. Danny Klimetz of Danny K photography will lead a workshop on photography for small business owners. The workshop will focus on photographing products and learning techniques that help one build up strong images for their website and other business storytelling. 

Klimetz is also the Creative in Residence for the Big Bad Business Lab, a two-year pilot program that supports arts-based small businesses attempting to overcome small business challenges. Through a combination of mentorship, connection with community experts, and some financial assistance, small business owners outline their own goals and work to achieve them over nine months. Klimetz is a leader among peers, providing mentorship, scheduling meetings with experts, and being a cheerleader when participants need it. 

“Double Decker really showcases the most creative small businesses we have to offer and then everything in between. Both workshops are ones that time and again, artists and craftsmen and women have said they would like to take. Do you have to move away to Nashville or Austen to get small business help from experts? No! Emily Suber and Danny Klimetz exemplify the creative spirit in our community and the willingness to see others succeed. We hope entrepreneurs will take advantage of these opportunities,” said Meghan Gallagher, coordinator of the Big Bad Business Series and education and outreach director at YAC.

YAC’s Arts Incubator, an incubator that connects artists with experts and resources in the community, began in 2009. In 2014, the incubator began offering quarterly workshops, and then in 2016, the workshops became monthly with grant funding and with a partnership with the EDF.

The Lab is funded through an Our Town grant, while the Big Bad Business Series receives funding from an Arts Project grant, both from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding comes from the MS Arts Commission and SouthArts foundation. Both workshops are free and open to the public. Register at incubator.oxfordarts.com.

 

Wayne Andrews is director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.