Newspaper

Starting a new business with a good idea can be a daunting task.

Just finding an affordable location to get started and qualified advice or expertise are often hurdles that can end a dream.

Those obstacles are about to be jumped with the implementation of Cullman Technology Village. The announcement came Wednesday that the City of Cullman, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce, Wallace State Community College and the University of Alabama are joining forces to provide a service where businesses can get off the ground, from hands-on consultation to seed money.

The incubator program is modeled after a successful initiative in five South Carolina cities, responsible for 12-14 new companies each within the first 18 months and $2.8 million payroll.

The city, through its economic development agency, the chamber of commerce, and Wallace State were all recording success individually in supporting business and industry, but the partnership brings all of that expertise under one roof, noted Dale Greer, director of the Cullman Economic Development Agency.

A 2,200-square-foot office in the Cullman Economic Development Agency will become the new hub for allowing entrepreneurs to tap into the University of Alabama for market research, contract manufacturing strategy and other expertise. Much of the focus will be on startups of technology-based jobs.

Local leadership has been turning more attention to building on technology-based businesses and jobs, which fits in with a strategic plan adopted by the chamber of commerce more than a year ago. Opening the door for entrepreneurs is an exciting step for the Cullman area as efforts continue to further diversify the economy and attract more young professionals.

Cullman is among the first communities to be included in this type of partnership with the University of Alabama. The research and knowledge from that relationship adds a promising dimension to local efforts to continue evolving economic opportunities and growth.

The last six years of economic development in Cullman have seen growth in many area — industry, retail, dining and events that attract national and regional audiences. Cullman is quickly making itself one of the most exciting small cities along the Interstate 65 corridor.

Building on the factors that bring jobs and creating a culture of entrepreneurship are vital in linking together the other components that attract visitors and new business.

Cullman has made an important investment in the present and future with Technology Village. The partnerships in this venture bring the knowledge and research to the table that will help establish creative business models in the community. We applaud the efforts of everyone involved.

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