LIMA — The novel coronavirus has been difficult for minority business owners to navigate, but the Walter C. Potts Entrepreneur and Training Center continues to surge forward in efforts to be a viable resource to the community.
The center’s board members held a press conference Friday morning to recap its 2020 progress and future plans.
O’Neal and interim director Jed Metzger shared the update that demolition has been completed on the Central Zone Building, where the center is set to relocate once completed.
“Roughly 75% of the demo work was done by owners of small businesses — I would say most of the demo work was done by those small businesses, and that’s something I think we can take pride in,” board member Jerome O’Neal said. “If you’re going to grow a city and you have the opportunity to do it within the structure that you’re trying to do it in, make sure you employ those small businesses.”
Metzger also announced that the center is in works with the Idea Foundry in Columbus to complete a feasibility study for the establishment of a Makerspace Facility.
“We signed an agreement to see if we could do a concept like those that we visited with coworking centers and other places. We have paid the portion down at this point to do that feasibility study so that is going on right now to determine what we need in a new facility that we’re possibly looking at that will bring together a lot of different people from education, even the trades, and a lot of people who have an idea that wants to expand it.”
The board also shared its goal to expand the Apollo Career Center entrepreneur certificate courses, continue to Davenport Police Training Scholarship Program and to work with local colleges to recruit qualified minority candidates for careers.
“Sometimes you can get going so quickly you forget to go back and let people know exactly just all the work and dedication that has gone into making the product so successful,” O’Neal said. “It’s been tough, there’s no question, (COVID-19) has hit minority businesses at a harder rate but I think, for the most part, we’ve tried to make sure that we’ve maintained connection with them and support them as much as we can. We’ve given them access to grants and dollars available, but the best thing that we can do now is if everybody, obviously, keeps their distancing and wear their mask.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.