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Regional Catalyst Women’s Business Center coming to Clanton

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Catalyst Center for Business and Entrepreneurship, a nonprofit in Huntsville, will be opening a second location in Clanton.

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the planned women’s business center in a press release announcing 20 such centers that have been approved throughout the country.

These center’s focus on assisting female entrepreneurs, and the new locations were strategically placed to help “rural, urban and underserved communities,” according to the press release.

In a phone interview, Lisa Mays of Catalyst said many of the details Regional Economic Assistance for Communicating Hope (REACH) Catalyst Women’s Business Center in Clanton are still being worked out. However, she said the center would offer similar free services as the existing Catalyst location, including coaching; assistance from experts in fields such as marketing, finances and planning; success stories from other entrepreneurs and other assistance.

“The Catalyst is an outstanding SBA Resource Partner of long standing, and we look forward to the assistance that the new facility will bring to entrepreneurs in the Chilton County and surrounding areas,” Thomas Todt, SBA Alabama district director, said in the release.

Catalyst submitted a plan to SBA to locate a center in Chiton County to reach a new area. SBA requires that new centers be at least 100 miles from an existing women’s business center.

“SBA has been trying to reach out the last several years to more rural areas, underserved areas,” Todt said.

He said he was happy to see another center opening in Alabama.

SBA partners with women’s business centers by providing funding through grants to cover about half of the cost of operation. Each group running the center raises the additional funds needed.

Todt said his office “does site visits to the centers and work with them to help them any way we can.”

Additional information on where in Clanton the center will be located will be published when it becomes available.