"If anybody is thinking of starting a business, go and talk to the Small Business Center and the REAL program."
Charlotte McLean has always enjoyed being around children, but she never thought about childcare as a career until a friend in the business suggested it to her. At the time, she was a forklift operator.
Charlotte left her job and enrolled at Central Carolina Community College, where she earned degrees in Early Childhood Education Associate and ECE Teacher. She also opened an academic childcare facility in her home.
With her degrees and experience, she wanted to open a large childcare center, but lacked the business knowledge. That brought her to the college's Small Business Center, where she learned from experienced business people and also received a grant that funded a basic web site and development of a brand and logo. Charlotte also took the college's Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL) program to gain the required business owner skills.
She now operates her successful Stop-n-Drop Academic Center at the W.B. Wicker Business Campus, in Sanford.
"If anybody is thinking of starting a business, go and talk to the Small Business Center and the REAL program," she said. "Then you begin with a wealth of information and opportunities. It can save you a lot of corrective action, time and money.
"This business really has met all of my expectations," she said. "I'm happy every day I come to work."