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Polk?s first entrepreneurial forum at ICC on Feb. 28

The purpose of this event is to create communities of entrepreneurial interest by promoting public and governmental awareness of the need for entrepreneurial development. Currently, Polk County is in the second step of the five-step certification process. Step two, the Community Assessment Certification, entails establishing a baseline of the community&squo;s current support for entrepreneurs, clarification of development goals, mapping the assets the community can marshal to support the development strategy, and a preliminary inventory of the entrepreneurial talent currently living and working in the community. The entrepreneurial forum is designed to support local entrepreneurs through education and networking to provide a nurturing environment for small businesses, creating homegrown jobs, growing the local economy, and creating an awareness of the need for attention toward entrepreneurial growth within Polk County.Entrepreneurial forum speakers include Matt Hutcherson, Mountain BizWorks South Regional Director, who will present &uot;The Spirit of Entrepreneurship.&uot; Della Frye&squo;s Polk County High School Entrepreneurship class will submit a total of 24 business plans and the grand prizewinner will be announced at the entrepreneurial forum. In addition, David Weisgerber, GISP, Polk County&squo;s GIS technician, will present &uot;Mapping Community Assets through the use of GIS.&uot; The use of GIS is not widely understood, other than the obvious use for creating maps. The presentation will demonstrate how GIS, or Geographic Information System, uses data to create a spatial representations (maps) created from data (information collected) to represent how community assets relate geographically to one another. Moreover, GIS is a powerful tool that can be used to map community assets.The keynote speaker is Joseph Miller, of Cheap Joe&squo;s Art Stuff in Boone, N.C. Both Joseph and the story of Cheap Joe&squo;s Art Stuff is sure to inspire both artists and entrepreneurs alike, event organizers say. Cheap Joe&squo;s started with most humble beginnings and has transformed its business into an industry leader.A business showcase will be on display, featuring three of the top entrepreneurial ventures in Polk County and helping to define business and civic entrepreneurial traits such as growth and lifestyle. The names of these businesses will be released prior to the event.This program is free and open to the public. The reception is sponsored in part by the Polk County Economic Development Commission and Mountain BizWorks. Please bring your business card for door prizes and for networking opportunities. Please RSVP to 894-2895 if you plan to attend.