Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pastor lobbies for local incubator

By Sheryl Marsh, Staff Writer, The Decatur Daily

It’s working in the Northeast and it’s working in the Northwest, as near as Huntsville and Muscle Shoals.

Decatur can have a successful entrepreneurial center, too, Larry Waye told the Morgan County Commission during a meeting Wednesday.

Waye, who serves as associate pastor of Decatur Baptist Church, asked the commission for a $100,000 appropriation for the Decatur-Morgan County Entrepreneurial Center.

He gave commissioners copies of a business plan and a written PowerPoint presentation for the center.

Waye said the center, located on Fourth Avenue Southeast, used to be the Decatur Business Incubator.

The center will provide services, including counseling and training, for people who want to start a business.

“The Shoals has a successful one, and Huntsville has two that are successful,” Waye said.

“We can have a successful one in Morgan County.”

He didn’t have statistics for those in the Shoals and Huntsville, but gave the commission information about centers in Virginia and Ohio.

The information showed that 47 companies, 450 jobs and $45 million in revenue came out of an incubator in Reston, Va., in less than 10 years.

Since 2002 in Youngs­town, Ohio, an incubator generated new companies that brought 235 jobs and $37 million in revenue.

Waye said he would be the board’s executive director.

Commissioners did not commit to Waye for the $100,000 request but were enthusiastic about the center.

Officials of these agencies also met with the commission and either asked for level funding or raises to annual allotments they get from the county:

•Decatur-Morgan County Convention and Visitors Bureau, $10,000 in addition to $50,000 allotment.

•Spirit of America, level funding, $8,000.

•The Princess Theatre Center for the Performing Arts, $25,000.

•Soil and Water Conservation, $56,000.

•Carnegie Visual Art Center, $5,000.

•Emergency 911, $65,663.

•Decatur Youth Symphony, $5,000.
Commissioners did not make decisions on the monetary requests Wednesday.

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