Supporting Small Business Development in Rutherford County, North Carolina
During this session, participants will learn more about the partnership between NC REAL Enterprises and Isothermal Community College to encourage entrepreneurship education and small business growth in Rutherford County, North Carolina. This effort will result in a comprehensive education collaborative that will create economic opportunities and increase the standard of living for the local residents and be replicable to other counties suffering from job losses.
During this session participants will learn more about how a project Supporting Small Business Development in a rural community of Rutherford County, NC, resulted in partnership between NC REAL Enterprises and Isothermal Community College’s Small Business Center. The project assists individuals who want to make the transition from factory and other related work that is in decline in the area to entrepreneurial careers in the small business economy. NC REAL is collaborating with Isothermal Community College and other community leaders to offer aspiring entrepreneurs appropriate entrepreneurship education courses, one-on-one technical assistance and access to additional resources, networks and information regarding loan capital. In addition, NC REAL supports participants in the REAL programs through follow up services provided by ConnectInc’s Next Steps Program which customizes its high-tech case management services to address the unique needs of dislocated workers.
This effort will result in a comprehensive education collaborative that will create economic opportunities and increase the standard of living for Rutherford County and be replicable to other counties hard hit by NAFTA job losses and plant closings. In addition to capacity building, the following outcomes are expected over the two-year grant period. This effort will help start 40 new businesses and improve or expand 20 existing businesses by training 128 individuals with a full array of entrepreneurship and business planning courses and seminars including targeted seminars on financials and marketing, and using technology for business, online business skills modules, loan capital information sessions, and other short business seminars based on participants’ needs that are being held at Isothermal Community College.
Anna Koltchagova, Interim Executive Director, NC REAL Enterprises, NC
Kim Alexander, Director, Small Business Center, Isothermal Community College, NC