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FLORENCE, S.C. — SiMT Entrepreneurship Day featured an array of speakers and information about business development practices for small-business owners at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology on Tuesday.

Ashley Deaza, director of the Gould Business Incubator at the SiMT, said the Entrepreneurship Day was started in 2017 with the hopes of helping small-business owners get questions answered and learning tools to help them kick start their work.

“This is a place where you can come ask questions with other entrepreneurs, network with other business owners and learn from those that have established businesses in the community,” Deaza said.

Participants heard from several speakers, including David Bonner, director of Additive Manufacturing at the SiMT; Suliban Deaza, co-founder of Ikon Weapons; Lee Freeman of M2 Marketing & Promotions; Tyron Jones, associate vice president of information technology at Florence-Darlington Tech; and Doug Kim, an attorney at the McNair Law Firm.

“If we want to continue to create jobs and better the economy in our area, we have to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs,” Ashley Deaza said. “This is an environment that really inspires other business owners because they get to share their experiences and learn from each other. Sometimes they can save money and they can save time and that is invaluable to a business owner.”

Attendees were able to learn about developing a new product, taking a product to the market, branding for start-ups, how to protect intellectual property, how to craft a pitch and how to find funding opportunities.

Deaza said the Business Incubator and the Incubator MakerSpace, a 3-D printing lab, were resources made available to the small-business owners and entrepreneurs.

“I think it’s important to recognize that Florence-Darlington Tech has been on the cutting edge of having a center like the SiMT building,” Deaza said. “This place creates a real synergy between all the local economic development resources that are available to the business owner.”

Deaza said the SiMT has made it easier for entrepreneurs to get started and days like Entrepreneurship Day help continue to stimulate the local economy.

“We have Florence County economic development and we have Darlington County economic development. The small-business development center for our area is all concentrated in one place, which really gives them all the resources that can be made available.”

“Basically, it’s up to these business owners to make it happen and we’re happy to be a part of it and see their successes,” Deaza said.

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