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From local to worldwide e-trade

“Selling to the World,” a program under the Southeast Community College umbrella, is partnering with the Cumberland Gap Region Tourism Association (CGRTA) to produce a series of eight entrepreneurial workshops in five of the ten counties within the Cumberland Gap region.

These workshops will alert local business owners to the free program that will better explain marketing strategies and promotion of hometown businesses on a rural and metropolitan level or via the worldwide ‘e-trade’ market.

The workshop series will explain how the program can provide the skills and knowledge to start a business utilizing the internet to earn supplemental income. It will also provide personal, one-on-one communication to identify each individual’s need, said Carl Nichols, CGRTA president and CEO.

“This introductory workshop will emphasize the two purposes for which the Cumberland Gap Region Tourism Association was formed – to promote the tourism industry in the region while working toward the goal of making this region a destination to where tourists will want to visit, stay, play and spend money. Our second purpose will be to promote small, mostly mom-and-pop businesses within the region.

“Tourists normally do not come to a region to eat at a national chain restaurant or shop at a mall. They seek out the local cuisine and shop at local craft, antique and gift shops where they can get a taste and feel and become a part of the local experience. Helping small businesses to grow and become successful is the most efficient way of attracting visitors.

“The Cumberland Gap Region Tourism Association will offer to play a significant role in marketing and promotion of the products and services produced by our regional small business via our website, through our local and national media advertising, through our weekly ‘constant contact’ emails and by conducting community and educational forums such as this workshop,” said Nichols.

In 2015, the national expenditures of tourism spending in the country totaled $2.49 billion. Only eight years from now, that number is predicted to double. This region must plan ahead and be prepared to accommodate this predicted phenomenal growth, he said.

“If our region is not prepared, we may forever lose the opportunity to boost the economic impact of tourism spending in our already economically depressed region. The best way to prepare businesses for the increase in tourism traffic is through education. This could be our golden opportunity to replace the lost revenue due to the downsizing of tobacco production in Tennessee and Virginia and the coal industry in Kentucky and Virginia,” said Nichols.

He encourages all small business owners in the region to take advantage of the free program, which will provide services for up to two years.

The first three workshops in the series will be held on Oct. 23, at the Harlan Tourism and Convention Center, sponsored by the Harlan County Chamber of Commerce.

Lincoln Memorial University will sponsor the second workshop, to be held on Oct. 24 at Harrogate City Hall.

On Nov. 2, Duncan Lumber Company and Smoky Mountain Home Health & Hospice will sponsor the third workshop inside First Street Duncan Hall, located on First Avenue in New Tazewell.

Each workshop will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will last approximately two and one-half hours.

Although the location of the workshops will be limited to five counties specified in the ARC grant, any resident of any Kentucky, Tennessee or Virginia county may attend these informative events.

For more information, or to register, contact Carla at 423-626-6353 or 423-259-1023.