News Release
Release No.STELPRD4014034
ContactDavid Glasgow615-783-1300
Josh Clendenen615-783-1300
Opportunity to succeed is one of the building blocks to constructing a sound community infrastructure in rural areas.
PARIS, Tenn., Jan 10, 2012 --

@@USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode today joined Paris Henry County Chamber Executive Director Jennifer Wheatley and other local leaders to announce federal support for the Chamber's 2012 Small Business Basics, a boot camp for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

The program started last year as part of the University of Tennessee Extension, Creating Rural Entrepreneurship Systems in Tennessee (CREST) project. The Chamber developed a six week course for start-up and existing companies in Henry, Weakley and Stewart Counties. The first class included eight small business owners and eight entrepreneurs looking into starting a company.

Sam Mahan of First Bank and Jennifer Hayden of Hamilton-Ryker will serve as co-chairs and facilitators for the six session-course. Topics to be covered include "What I Wish I Had Known/Writing a Business Plan," "Your New best Friends, an Accountant and an Attorney," "So How Do You Get the Money?," "Human Resources" and "Marketing basics." The USDA grant of $10,000 will be matched by $10,000 in contributions from the Chamber.

"I started a small business a few months before the course was offered," said 2011 graduate Kevin Buie, owner of K and B Supplies for Success. "Anyone who has started or is thinking about starting a small business should take this course; It was a real eye-opener for me."

Cost to participants is $50, which is refunded to participants who attend all six evenings. Classes will be held at the Chamber Office, 2508 East Wood Street in Paris on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. More information is available at or call the Chamber at 731-642-3431.

"The Paris Henry County Chamber has a great program here," said Goode. "Utilizing local business people to help grow other small businesses opens up a world of potential opportunities and creates a support network of professionals who can help each other grow."

Others participating in the event included Rep. Stephen Fincher’s Representative Dale Hendon, Henry County Mayor Brent Greer, Paris Mayor Sam Tharpe, Henry County Alliance Executive Director Larry Crawford, Paris Economic Development Director Carl Holder, Tennessee department of Economic and Community Development Field Rep. Janna Hellums, and RD Area Director Harriet Cannon and staff Van Wylie and Mitzi Hailey.

Rural Development's rural business grant programs provide assistance to local governments and non-profit organizations that assist small businesses, develop local business infrastructure, provide job training, conduct feasibility studies or provide technical assistance to businesses and community leaders.

USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year the agency assisted tens of thousands of Tennessee families and businesses, investing more than $737 million through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.

For more information on Rural Development programs available in West Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Union City at 731-885-6480 ext. 4, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1497 or visit us online at


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