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Learning Clusters Prove Successful for Entrepreneurial Center

The Shoals Entrepreneurial Center (SEC) has seen tremendous results in its Commercial Culinary Center (SCCC), a shared-use commercial kitchen, after participating in a food sector learning cluster sponsored by the Association for Enterprise Opportunity.

The learning cluster provided SCCC the opportunity to gather useful information about successful operations of Farmers’ Market’s and Farm-to-Cafeteria initiatives, and motivated the SCCC to implement its plan of a Farmers’ Market, ultimately resulting in a substantial increase in sales for SCCC’s clients.

The learning cluster also assisted the SCCC in gaining support from the Alabama Department of Agriculture, and members of the learning clusters provided the SCCC with ideas for the launching of its new e-commerce Web site. “I have found that my experience with the learning clusters has been most beneficial. The networking is has provided is beyond my expectation,” said Sherry Campbell-Foster, food service administrator for the SCCC. The food sector learning clusters, with support from a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, convenes rural and urban micro-enterprise development organizations to discuss innovative practices, increasing market access and policy issues.

For more information about the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and its learning clusters, visit www.microenterpriseworks.org.

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