CEED assists regional businesses

By Shawn Touney | Dec 23, 2021

MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University’s Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development (CEED) through the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business has assisted various businesses in several ways, including the  dissemination of important information, connecting businesses with important contacts, and fielding requests for assistance in aiding recovery efforts. This outreach originated in Spring 2020 during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in the aftermath of the devastating storms in the west Kentucky and multi-state region earlier this month. 

"We have a tremendous responsibility at Murray State University to assist our region during this difficult time,” Murray State President Dr. Bob Jackson said. “The Bauernfeind College of Business, CEED office, Mr. Chris Wooldridge and others will be excellent resources and a major help along with the Purchase Area Development District to those throughout our region impacted by the tornadoes."

“Echoing President Jackson, the Bauernfeind College of Business and the Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development are in unique positions to provide small business expertise and assistance. Chris Wooldridge is a known presence in the business community of west Kentucky, and he and others, spanning all the Murray State Colleges and Schools, will be of assistance to help our region,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Tim Todd.

“The CEED is working with resource partners as well as businesses and industries throughout the region to both support recovery efforts as well as evaluate support the Murray State University CEED can provide going forward to grow from this disastrous weather event. I appreciate the support that Dr. Jackson, Dr. Todd and Dr. Eaton continue to give the CEED in the support of its mission," said Chris Wooldridge, CEED Director.

Following the devastation and upon the restoration of power from the Dec. 10 storms, CEED began immediately sending contact and resource information from state and national levels through the region to chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and area development district partners throughout its 26-county footprint. Information and resources from providers that continue to be shared include the United States Department of Agriculture, United States Small Business Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, Delta Regional Authority, Kentucky League of Cities and Kentucky Association for Economic Development. In addition, contacts from the regional and other state entities have been providing useful information that has been redistributed through the CEED regional contact network.

CEED Director Chris Wooldridge and Purchase Area Development District (PADD) Business Lending Specialist Mike Maxwell met with the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Recovery Center team on Dec. 16 when SBA opened its office in Benton. This meeting involved making the necessary connections for service delivery and assistance across the SBA, Murray State and PADD resources. Information from that meeting facilitated connecting the SBA public information efforts with the University’s National Public Radio affiliate, WKMS for regional dissemination.

The CEED is working to establish a temporary office in Mayfield to support service partners and serve business owners in operational disaster recovery for the business. Talks have been underway since the disaster to establish the temporary office in the Purchase Area Development District office as soon as feasible. The CEED is already working with PADD officials with regard to information sharing and program support.

The CEED has received numerous requests for information and support from organizations and local officials in developing planning for immediate and longer term recovery. The CEED is also working to continue to identify and deliver to the region information, support and success for the business owners and their families who have been impacted by the recent storms. Murray State will continue to support its community through its response, recovery and growth efforts. 

Murray State University’s Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Development can be reached by email at cwooldridge@murraystate.edu or by phone at (270) 809-2495.

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