Free Business Seminar Coming to Highland County


Upcoming classes are in the works in Highland County to help current and prospective local businesses grow.  Dorothy Stephenson, Executive Director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, and Josh Umar, the Business Resource Coordinator for The Highland Center, have more on this story.

Mr. Umar begins.  He says, “The Center and the Chamber are teaming up to help local businesses with a series of educational seminars.  The first one is coming up.  It is on beginning accounting, so basic accounting concepts and vocabulary, things like that, and the hope is that we’ll work in a little bit on QuickBooks toward the end.  It’s going to happen Thursday, April 27th from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.  It’s going to be at The Highland Center, and it’s going to be free.  We want any business owner, or anybody who’s thinking of starting a business to feel free to join us.  The class is going to be taught by a local CPA, Kim Billingsley.  She’s really good.  She knows what she’s talking about.  And it works really well, I think, for local business owners and for us as partners.  The Center’s mission is to be a catalyst for economic growth and to help local businesses develop to their upmost, and sort of helping people figure out their bottom line and have sound accounting practices is right in line with that.”

Dorothy Stephenson continues, “With the Chamber, the biggest thing for us is to talk to our members, find out what they need as far as moving their business forward, so that’s how The Highland Center and the Chamber of Commerce work together.  I can get feedback from our members, find out what they’re needing.  I’ve had a lot of requests for a class like this, basic accounting, more in to QuickBooks, but we believe that this going to be a good starting point.”

Mr. Umar explains, “We are still seeking sponsors.  If you’re interested in sponsoring one of the classes, please get in contact with us.  And we’re also seeking input on other seminars that people might want to see.  We’re working on one right now for human resources basics that’s kind of to help business owners get up to date on hiring and employment law, and we’ve also got one in the works that’s a class on ways to finance an expansion of your business, but we’re very open to suggestion and want to put on these workshops that people want to come to and learn from.”

Ms. Stephenson concludes, “Chamber hat off for a second and local business owner hat on, a lot of our local business owners, some may have former training on running a business and some may not, and for those local business owners who are in the midst of building their business or starting their business, maybe you know that there’s a need in the community that needs to be met and you want to meet it with that small business.  I mean, we all have questions about, ‘Am I doing this right?’ or ‘How should I be doing this?’ or maybe there’s a more efficient way of doing this, and especially with accounting and QuickBooks.  I know me personally as a business owner, you know, that’s where I get nervous a lot just knowing if I’m doing it right, so this is a really great resource for local business owners, and it’s right here in the county.  You know, we don’t have to go outside of the county lines.  You don’t have to sign up for a class over the mountains.  It’s right here in your backyard.  It’s free, so take advantage of it.  At the very least, you’re going to learn something new, and you’re going to meet other local business owners, and it can even be a networking possibility for you.  So like I said, having that training for small business owners within the county, that’s something Josh and I are very excited about and very proud about, so I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for our local business owners.”

Again, the Beginning Accounting Seminar is planned to be the first in a 3 part series and will be held from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at The Highland Center on Thursday, April 27th.  To sponsor or sign up for the event, Josh Umar can be reached at 540-468-1922 or

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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