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Terika Anderson, representative for Bethel University’s Memphis location, answered questions during the North Mississippi Business Expo and Job Fair held at the Landers Center in Southaven.

DeSoto County continues to boast a vibrant economy for business but still reaches out to those seeking to connect with them for new job opportunities.

To accomplish that, another event aimed at highlighting the business community in DeSoto County and potential job seekers was held when North Mississippi Media Group hosted an initial North Mississippi Business Expo and Job Fair. It was held at the Landers Center in Southaven.

The broadcasting company operates radio stations 95.3 The Rebel, 97.7 Guess FM, and DeSoto 100.1 radio stations out of Southaven.

“We have 50 exhibitors, ranging from recruiters to businesses to those businesses looking to further their reach in North Mississippi,” said North Mississippi Media Group owner and event organizer Allison Freeman. “We wanted to bring both businesses and job seekers together.”

Finding new employees can become a daunting challenge for a county that boasts one of the state’s lowest unemployment rates at 4.1 percent in January. That figure is lower than the state average of 5.2 percent and the national average of 4.4 percent unemployed.

However, Jerry ‘Bud’ Milligan with Ameriprise Financial Services pointed out that business, especially small businesses, remains an important part of the economy.

Milligan was one of the exhibitors at the Expo and Job Fair.

“They make up a huge part of the economy here in North Mississippi and I work with a lot of small business owners,” Milligan explained. “This is a great opportunity for me to meet some folks that I haven’t met and also to support a lot of our local businesses.”

The day was not just meet and greet between companies and job seekers, however. Special programs were presented during the course of the day, including a talk from Matt Lyles, a personal branding coach. Lyles spoke on the theme that a clear personal brand as a job seeker is important in a job search.

Lyles is based in Memphis and is also involved in Global Brand Management for FedEx.

Other presentations came from Lynn Duncan, an expert on ID theft solutions, speaking on Identity Theft and Legal Issues, and Director of Planning for DeSoto County Bennie Hopkins also updated those attending about issues affecting his department.

The day was mostly geared for those attending to meet business concerns outside the office, learn more about who they are and what they do, and possibly make a connection for a future career hire.

“Small businesses are an important part of our economy,” Milligan explained. “You have some businesses that are trying to get started and this is an opportunity for them to really showcase what they are doing. I have identified a few people I will be doing business with myself and I’ve had some small business owners approach me to talk about their business. I also had some people come by as individuals, and we also work with individuals, who have asked me about planning and what we can do for them.”

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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