Chamber Chat - Small Business Resources

Jan 13

By Meg Moss

 

The objective of the Small Business Center Network is to increase the success rate and the number of viable small businesses in North Carolina through assistance to prospective and existing small business owners which will lead to job creation and retention. Small Business Centers (SBC) are located at each of the state’s 58 community colleges, and we are lucky that Central Carolina Community College has three SBC’s.

 

Our local SBC recently presented at the Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Luncheon. As a result of local elected officials’ interest in knowing what resources are available for citizens to start and grow their business, we felt it was fitting to hear from both the SBC, as well as from Bishop Charles Mellette from Christian Provision Ministries. Mellette hosts business networking and training twice a year at his church.

 

The presentation started with Terri Brown, the Director of the SBC in Lee County. She stated that January is a great time to speak to groups because it’s often the time of year when people decide to start a business. It’s also a great time for existing businesses to step back and take a good look at their business plan to see if they need to tweak it in any way.

 

So what does the SBC offer? The SBC provides free (yes, I said free!) confidential business counseling, business plan development, business training via seminars, webinars and workshops, and business start-up assistance.  They also have capital options for when a bank has turned down a business owner, they provide business plan reviews, marketing plan reviews, and business templates.  

 

“What starts as a wonderful idea – the SBA helps turn into reality” Brown said during the presentation.

 

The North Carolina SBC is number one in the United States for seminars and webinars presented, as well as the number of attendees. A full list of available trainings are listed on the SBC website (www.leesbc.com), but some of the upcoming classes offered are Storytelling for Marketing, Pricing Your Products, Mastering Sales, Creating a Killer-Good Brand, Bookkeeping, Instagram for Business, and Trademarks.

 

And brand new in 2019, Brown revealed that the SBC will offer an on-demand, self-paced course on “How to start a business in Lee County”. Those who complete the seven part course will receive a Lee County Business Start-Up Foundations Certificate. Courses for the certificate include Business Structure, Taxes, Hiring Employees, Naming your Business, Local Resources, Referrals and Business Templates.

 

In addition to visiting their website, you can text CCCCSmallBiz to 22828 in order to get up to date information on seminars.

 

Bishop Charles Mellette, as referenced earlier in this article, starting seeing an increase in business owners and professionals in his multicultural congregation at Christian Provision Ministries. As a result, he founded the Champion Leadership Network, which has been hosting business educational conferences since 2015. The Network builds and strengthens business relationships, and provides opportunities for networking, coaching and counseling. Each March, the Network hosts a networking event, which drew professionals from ten counties in 2018. In August, they will hold their Annual Conference, where Mellette brings in speakers for business training.

 

We are lucky to be a part of a community that provides so many alternatives for learning about starting and expanding a business. If you are in need of assistance, please call me at the Sanford Area Growth Alliance – Chamber of Commerce at 919-775-7341 x1502 and I can connect you with the resources that are right for you!



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