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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


In this issue:
Gov. Robert Bentley to deliver 2013 Alabama update in Huntsville next week
Gov. Robert Bentley signs bill creating a 'crown jewel' conference center in Gulf Shores
Shoals incubator program a model in federal study


Gov. Robert Bentley to deliver 2013 Alabama update in Huntsville next week
By Lucy Berry | lberry@al.com 
on May 15, 2013

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama - Gov. Robert Bentley will deliver the 2013 Alabama update at noon May 22 at Von Braun Center North Hall in Huntsville, according to the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County.


Presented by Intergraph, the event will bring together about 1,000 business officials and community leaders. Tickets for a reserved table of eight are $425, for chamber members are $30 and for non-chamber members are $45. To register, visit the chamber's website or contact Tina Leopold at 256-535-2031 or email tleopold@hsvchamber.org.









Gov. Robert Bentley signs bill creating a 'crown jewel' conference center in Gulf Shores
By George Talbot | gtalbot@al.com 
on May 14, 2013

GULF SHORES, Ala. - With a blue sky above him and a warm Gulf of Mexico breeze at his back, Gov. Robert Bentley picked up a pen and signed a bill that will clear the way for construction of a new lodge and conference center at Gulf State Park.


"My vision is for a lodge that everyone can visit and enjoy," Bentley said during a beachfront news conference. "I want more families to come to the Gulf State Park and explore our natural resources."


The ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 231 was cheered by dozens of Gulf Coast business and tourism leaders who gathered on the sand near the proposed construction site. The project will be paid for with $85.5 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment funding paid to the state as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.








Shoals incubator program a model in federal study
By Bernie Delinski
TheTimes Daily 
May 15, 2013

FLORENCE - Chequetta Shaw said she thought she knew about cooking before she trained at the Shoals Culinary Center.


"But I didn't," Shaw said, while chatting Tuesday with an Appalachian Regional Commission official. "There's a whole lot of knowledge provided by this program.


She said the center gave her more than a jump on life. "Y'all gave me a good leap."


Fellow student Rashard Campbell echoed Shaw's comments.


"I did culinary studies in high school, but coming here improved all my skills," Campbell said.


The comments brought a smile to Earl Gohl, federal co-chairman for the commission.

"When anyone asks, 'Why do federal funds matter?,' this is why federal funds matter," Gohl said. "It changes people's lives."


Federal funds helped create programs such as the culinary center and its parent program, the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center. Today, 20 percent of the center's annual $500,000 budget comes from various sources such as grants and 80 percent is self-generated through rent and service fees.


The entrepreneurial center is one of the models used in a book from the National Business Incubation Association that discusses the importance such entities have on a community when they properly are planned and operated.


[Florence Times Daily]



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