Harlan Countians interested in becoming entrepreneurs are invited to a meeting of the Harlan County Arts Council Monday.
Dannell J. O’Connell, executive director of Selling to the World Initiative and Expo from neighboring Bell County in Middlesboro, will be the featured speaker.O’Connell will be sharing more information about her program, which provides mentoring and workshops for creative people interested in starting small businesses.
“While the Harlan County Arts Council is primarily about promoting the arts in our area, we also have underlying goals of helping Harlan County and its people,” said Harlan County Arts Council President Jennifer McDaniels. “Since our arts council was formed, our members have said we realize Harlan County is in an economic transition, and we feel strongly that the arts can and will be a part of Harlan County’s successful transition. Monday’s meeting with O’Connell is one of many ways the Harlan County Arts Council is not only going to work to promote the arts, but work to increase Harlan County’s sustainability.”
O’Connell, who comes from Missouri where she has 17 years experience coordinating community programs at a non-profit level, will be sharing opportunities Monday that exist through her program called Selling to the World Initiative And Expo, which is based out of downtown Middlesboro. Selling to the World Initiative and Expo is set up like an incubator of sorts to guide interested participants in all aspects of small business development with the goal of harnessing the power of the internet to distribute products statewide, nationally, and even internationally.
“We want to pave a pathway to greater success for local artisans, craftspeople and small business owners,” O’Connell said. “Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia have all significant amounts of artisans, craftspeople and small businesses. It is our goal through Selling to the World Initiative and Expo to help all of these creative people in this Tri-State area to boost the region’s economy by increasing exports of our beautiful artistry, and to even grow businesses to create jobs.”
Monday’s meeting will be held in the conference room of the Harlan County Extension Agency and will begin at 6 p.m. McDaniels said all are welcome to attend, and the meeting is free. There will also be refreshments. In its effort to help promote local entrepreneurs, the refreshments for Monday’s meeting will be provided by “The Mother Fudgers,” a local group of homemade fudge makers led by Lexi Lankford. Variety platters of their unique fudge flavors will be creatively displayed and available for sampling.
“We are looking forward to Monday night’s meeting, because it is very empowering to see how the arts and creativity can stimulate community growth and the entrepreneurial spirit,” McDaniels said. “O’Connell brings to us a world of experience, and I know her presentation will stimulate local enthusiasm for downtown revitalization through the arts and through the development of small businesses. Monday night will hopefully be a springboard for exciting things to happen in Harlan County.”
O’Connell also oversees “The Palace” in downtown Middlesboro, which is an artisan center and meeting place for Selling to the World Initiative and Expo workshops and lectures. The storefront features local artistry and craftsmanship and is manned by volunteers who are working toward marketing and exporting their products. O’Connell believes downtown Harlan can also have such a place.
“We can market ourselves to the world,“ O’Connell said. “The possibilities are endless when you combine creativity and artistry with business development and love for community.”
For more information about Monday’s meeting, contact McDaniels at 606-573-4223.