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City offers free workshops for business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs

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This post originally appeared in the City of Auburn News.

Aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners are invited to upcoming workshops hosted by the City of Auburn in partnership with Auburn University Outreach’s Government and Economic Development Institute (GEDI) and the Auburn University Harbert College of Business.

There are two free workshops to choose from: a single, half-day option; and a five-week, one hour each Monday Zoom series.

The Entrepreneurship Pop-up Workshop is Thursday, Jan. 27, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In this half-day, in-person workshop, small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn to: develop or fine-tune their value propositions, identify market potential, develop a business model, address risks, expand their network of partners and more. Morning refreshments and a working lunch sponsored by AuburnBank will be included. This program is free and is possible in part because of the Auburn University Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center Program and the Auburn Chamber of Commerce.

five-week Strategic Planning Series geared toward current small business owners is offered beginning Monday, Jan. 31. Each Monday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., participants can remotely log in to a virtual workshop that provides a deep dive into strategic planning. This series is interactive and allows for discussion of customized strategies specific to each entrepreneur’s business. In this series, participants can expect: an external analysis (in general, and of industry and competitors); an internal analysis (of the business’ resources and capabilities); evaluation of competitive advantages and business-level strategies, cooperative strategies and external relationships; as well as implementation plans and other fundamentals. This free program is brought to you by Auburn University Harbert College of Business and the City of Auburn and funded by an EDA CARES Grant to the Auburn University EDA University Center Program.


Space is limited, so reserve your seat now. To register for either of these opportunities, visit by Tuesday, Jan. 25. If you have questions, contact 334-501-7377 or [email protected].


Both of these entrepreneurial programs will be led by LaKami Baker, PhD. Baker is an associate professor in Auburn University’s Department of Management and holds the Russell Foundation Professorship in Entrepreneurial Studies in the Harbert College of Business at Auburn University. She most recently served as the interim executive director of the GEDI in University Outreach. Prior to joining GEDI, she served as the managing director of the Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship, where she assisted students, faculty and community entrepreneurs in developing their business ideas, refining their business models and preparing for investment presentations. During her four-year tenure, the teams she worked with won or raised over $1 million in external sources and earned over $930,000 in revenue.

Baker teaches courses in strategy and technology commercialization at the MBA and executive levels. She is certified to provide training, coaching and mentoring on the lean startup methodologies, value proposition design and creating and developing sustainable business models by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA) and earned her Business Incubation Management Certificate from InBIA.

David Mixson will lead the Pop-up Workshop with Baker. Mixson currently serves as associate director for the GEDI at Auburn University. He also serves as Auburn’s EDA University Center director. Over his 25-year career in university economic development, Mixson has assisted communities, cities, associations, nonprofits and small businesses with challenges requiring creative thinking and innovation. He has won numerous grants totaling over $2.7 million assisting communities and businesses over the last 13 years.

Mixson holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Auburn University with a minor in business management. He completed a Master of Business Administration degree from Auburn University and is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society and the Economic Development Association of Alabama. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute and the Auburn University Intensive Economic Development Training Course and has taught the Economic Development and Competition course in Auburn University’s Political Science Department. He is an Innovation Engineering Black Belt through the Eureka Ranch International and is trained in the Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup methodologies.

View the informational flyer here.