Macon County’s Economic Development Center hosted the second entrepreneur networking night last Thursday at Appalachian Harvest in downtown Franklin.
“The Macon County Economic Development Commission is pleased to partner with our economic development partners in sponsoring our second entrepreneurial event of the year,” said Tommy Jenkins, Macon County EDC director. “Our first event in April brought together over 70 enthusiastic entrepreneurs for an evening of networking and fellowship. This event will build on that momentum.”
The event, which packed Appalachian Harvest from wall to wall, gave local entrepreneurs and business owners the opportunity to meet and network in order to perpetuate Macon County’s reputation of being a certified entrepreneur community.
After snacks and refreshments from local businesses like Appalachian Harvest, Rosebud Cottage and Life’s Bounty, the event was highlighted by the premiere of Macon County’s section of the Advantage West Certified Entrepreneurial Community website, featuring video testimonials from local successes Appalachian harvest owners Kimberly and Kevin Baldwin, Phil Drake and John Lupoli.
During their video testimonies, the Baldwins noted that Franklin was an ideal place to own a business because the local community is supportive and inviting. Drake commented that by being a business owner in Macon County, he has grown his main business, Drake Software, to be a hub for other business ventures such as the Franklin Golf Course, the Fun Factory, and the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. Lupoli, who has grown his construction company in Highlands, credits the thriving second home market in Macon County for his success.
The event was co-sponsored by Franklin Chamber of Commerce, the Franklin Main Street Program, Franklin Young Professionals, Southwestern Community College and Venture Local. “As a Certified Entrepreneurial Community, all of our event sponsors are dedicated to making Macon County entrepreneur friendly,” Jenkins said. “Together, they provide the resources and opportunities needed to ensure success for local business startups.”