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WCU Bestows Annual Small Business Leadership Award

May 01, 2024

Full news story reported on and by www.wdam.com

By Jason Duke

Published: May. 1, 2024 at 7:26 PM CDT

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – William Carey University held its annual Small Business Leadership Award Luncheon Wednesday morning.

The award was established in 1990 to recognize contributions small businesses make to the economic, social and cultural life of the community, the particular achievements of one individual or family.
The recipient must own or manage a business that meets the criteria established by Carey and the Area Development Partnership and must also reflect Judeo-Christian values.

This year’s award was given to Van and Nicole Jones and their business, A.S.A.A.P (After School Academics & Arts Program).

A.S.A.A,P, aims to build Mississippi’s future through an investment in its youngest members, its children.
The business offers a safe summer and after-school place where students can do homework or some other form of enrichment activities.

“It’s great to be a part of something great,” Van Jones said. “It’s so great to be a part of such elite company and I just take my hat off to all of my friends, all the people that came before us.
“I take my hat off to ADP and William Carey, (who are) doing an amazing job, and just for those pioneers who paved the way for businesses in the area.”

The Joneses also own The Shoppe Ice Cream & More in Purvis and The Blue Hollow Lake Retreat in Hattiesburg.
“The whole Hattiesburg community is a family,” WCU President Dr. Ben Burnett said. “We depend on each other, and all these small businesses go in together to make life in the Pine Belt so much better.
“So, we need to applaud their efforts and we need to encourage them, and we need to thank them and recognize them.”