Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Written by Keith Phillips for VicksburgNews.Com
Last week participants graduated from the first Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp where 12 individuals received information to start or expand their own businesses.
Myra Harris, who recently started a company making masks, joined the boot camp shortly after her grandchildren informed her of the opportunity.
“They provided all the resources you would need to start your business, and they also made themselves available after class just in case you had any questions,” Harris said.
Retired businessman Rob Burnham facilitated the class and helped the participants plan out their businesses, assisting with marketing, accounting and distribution. Marcus Dufour and Pablo Diaz from the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce hosted the class, bringing in successful entrepreneurs as speakers including Kevin Roberts who owns Fit Chef Catering in Vicksburg.
“Every speaker gave us the opportunity to ask questions, and it definitely gave me the information I need to open a business, and I would recommend the class 100%,” said participant Willie Johnson.
Johnson was born and raised in Vicksburg. He’s now retired from the military and looking to launch a consulting business, which is what led him to attending the boot camp.
By having capable individuals at the boot camp such as James Harper from the Small Business Development Center at Hinds Community College, the participants were able to learn about available grants and other resources for entrepreneurs.
Starting a business can be stressful for first time entrepreneurs, but the boot camp provided planning advice to the participants, breaking down the information that participants need to launch their businesses.
“In the business process of starting and running a business, owners get very busy running the day-to-day aspects,” said boot camp participant Kendra Reed. “Entrepreneurship Bootcamp gave me the chance to step back and plan through the whole process to prepare my new company to be successful.”
Reed is the owner of Delta Dirt Shirt, and she was proud to be a graduating member of the camp.
Now that the camp has ended, the participants are in competition for a $1,000 seed grant for the best business plan presentation. A winner will be announced Dec. 8.
Kendra also had the following comments about the bootcamp, "The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp was a wonderful place to network as you meet other business owners and would-be owners. It was exciting to watch the synergy as many business needs crossed over. Even if people have a college degree or not, the class was a good overview to help people turn their dreams into practical businesses. A class likes this helps separate the idea of owning a business from the hard work and determination to really do it. The class is about writing a solid business plan, if you have no plan, you have no business."