Group to promote entrepreneurship

In an effort to promote the viability of creating a business inHuntingdon, in addition to appreciating the businesses that are already here, one nonprofit group is looking to promote Global Entrepreneurship Week to do just that.
 
The week, which begins Monday, Nov. 16, will have Huntingdon Landmarks Inc. helping to find ways to promote the business community in Huntingdon while encouraging entrepreneurs to start their own business in Huntingdon with a series of seminars at the Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

 
Angie Thompson, chairperson of the downtown opportunity committee with Huntingdon Landmarks Inc., explained how this project came about.
 
“The thing that got it started is just the mission statement of our board, which is to promote the economic viability of landmarks in Huntingdon,” said Thompson. “We were between projects, and we started seeing so many empty buildings. We wanted to organize ourselves and work with other groups to try to bring some sort of marketing effort and energy and positivity. We wanted to get the word out to the community to look at all these opportunities that are in town.”
 
Being co-owner of Thompson’s Candle Co., Thompson knows people who shop at her business are looking for other places to visit and shop at in Huntingdon.
 
“There’s a market. When people come here, they’re looking for other places to shop,” said Thompson.
 
With that in mind, the organization started to reach out to other organizations, like Huntingdon County Business and Industry (HCBI), Huntingdon County Arts Council, the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau and the 4 and More Cultural District, and representatives from these organizations formed the downtown opportunity committee to see what could be done.
 
“When we learned about Global Entrepreneurship Week, we thought it was a great tie-in to kick off marketing efforts,” said Thompson.

 

 
A series of events will occur during the week at the Juniata College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (JCEL) that will help future business owners learn how to get their start, including an opportunity seminar from 5-6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, where future entrepreneurs will learn how to distinguish between idea and opportunity.
 
St. Francis University Small Business Development Center will also hold a seminar from 9-12 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at JCEL for people who are interested in opening their own business.
 
Folks will also get an opportunity to learn more about JCEL by getting a tour of the facility and learn about how it supports local businesses from 1-4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19.
 
Additionally, folks will also be able to tour the ACCO Brands Blair facility in Alexandria from 3-4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, to learn about the paper industry.
 
To further encourage entrepreneurs, Thompson said Huntingdon Landmarks Inc. will hold a “Shark Tank” business pitch event at JCEL April 23, 2016.
 
“These will be with actual people who are willing to invest and mentor people who want to start their ownbusiness,” said Thompson. “We’re looking for people to enter into that sort of contest. We’ve also been in contact with Realtors and they’re willing to open up and do open houses for places that are for rent or sale.”
 
“We are looking for anyone who would want to be an investor,” she added. “If anyone wants to come forward, we’re taking volunteers.”
 
Juniata College students will also be touring businesses to see what Huntingdon has to offer, said Thompson.
 
“We’ve partnered with eight or nine businesses, and they’re coming around next Wednesday,” said Thompson. “We’re starting uptown and going into the downtown. They’re going to hear a little bit about their business development stories.”
 
She hopes this week will be the start of something great, especially when it comes to bringing businesses to Huntingdon.
 
“A lot of people in the area, automatically or by habit, go other places to do shopping,” said Thompson. “We still have quite a few things here if we come and look a little bit.”
 
If anyone is interested in any of the activities, email Lucy Noble at noblem14@juniata.edu or contact 641-2724.
 
Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.