Chamber office offers space for small businesses, start-ups

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By Denise DuBois

Starting a business is never easy, but Phenix City and the East Alabama community is trying to make it easier for people to locate here or start a business here. In 2017, 26.9 million small businesses were identified across the country. In Alabama, that number looks more like 388,850. Some are larger businesses with office space and staff members, but what about the single-person businesses? What about the entrepreneurs who are stuck in the house with a desk, working hard to make office space in their home?

The East Alabama Chamber of Commerce has an answer for that. All across Alabama, small business entrepreneurial centers are opening up specifically for the businesses that are just starting up and need a space to work or for single-person businesses that need to get out of the house. The chamber is joining the state-wide movement and opening its doors to entrepreneurs.

“What we want to do is create space for a startup company, maybe a single person who wants to get out of their house and be in an area more conducive to business – a place where they can be seen,” said Dennis Beson, East Alabama Chamber of Commerce president. “We are offering cubicle space within our chamber, because we are about small businesses and promoting entrepreneurship.”

Beson said he wants to see entrepreneurs locate here, or start businesses here, because owners will stay and get involved in the community.

“We want to grow businesses from the ground up here. It’s never easy to recruit a large company to the area, but id you grow someone right here, they become part of the community. They become involved and invested and that’s what we want to do. We want them to stay,” Beson said.

With development happening in the downtown area and Troy University hosting start-up accelerators for inventors and entrepreneurs in the past, Phenix City is friendly to people who want to work for themselves or create a viable product.

“We have a good-sized population. We’re nearing a medium-sized town, but we still have the hometown feel. We have the ability to support new businesses wholeheartedly. I think Phenix City is on the cusp of becoming very cool with our river front activities and our entertainment district. For a young entrepreneur, or a millennial entrepreneur, this is a perfect city to locate,” Beson added.

The small business center offers desk space for $200 a month. The rent includes power, water, internet, cubicle space and access to board rooms to meet with people. For more information about the business center, call the East Alabama Chamber of Commerce at 334-298-3639.