PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Growing businesses and funding entrepreneurs were the focus of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's visit to Phenix City on Thursday.
Residents don't have to guess what the future holds when they look at some hard numbers coming from Phenix City's business permits.
Permits filled for the last three years in Phenix City show in 2013 there were 109 permits registered, and so far in the first half of 2016, there's already been more than 130.
These numbers show businesses are growing, nearly doubling this year. Phenix City finance representatives say they permits are filed especially for small businesses ,and Governor Bentley hopes that young start-up companies will take advantage of Alabama investment opportunities.
"Take advantage of some of the things, we have a small business commission that we've put in place, made up of small businesses that put together all the services that are available on a state level for small businesses as they develop. So, there are things that are already available,"said Bentley.
Representatives with River City Foundry, a new group to the Valley that propels start-ups into success, says Phenix City and the Fountain City need to keep young entrepreneurs in the area, to recycle their talents and ideas back into the community.
They say with today's digital revolution, places like Phenix City can grow and become the next hot spot in the country... with proper nurturing, that is.
"Companies like AirBnB and Uber, which are really unique because they are information systems that actually do not have assets. so for example, if I asked you, what's the largest hotel chain, or hospitality company, you would say Marriott, or Hilton. No, AirBnB is larger than both of those combined and they own no inventory," said Frank Braski with the River City Foundry.
Governor Bentley says it's possible for Phenix City to keep some of the bright local talent who create physical inventions, along with software and technological ideas.
Phenix City leaders say they believe their town could be the next major American city, explaining that much like all mega businesses and chains once started as a small business, all major cities once were small and growing.
Administrators with the River City Foundry say there are a few "shark-tank" like opportunities coming up for local inventors and thinkers to pitch their ideas and products to regional investors.