SANFORD - The Small Business Center Network of the N.C. Community College System is celebrating 30 years of providing support and assistance to small businesses and start-ups across North Carolina. Small Business Centers (SBCs) are located at each of the state's 58 community colleges, providing confidential business counseling and seminars to small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Created in1984 when the North Carolina General Assembly funded 14 SBCs, the Small Business Center Network (SBCN) had expanded to include at least one SBC at each community college by 1995. Each year, the centers assist in starting an average of 650 businesses and help create and retain more than 3,000 jobs.
Today, with more than 60 sites, the Small Business Center Network is known as the most expansive state-funded technical small business assistance program in the United States with locations within a 30-minute drive of almost every North Carolinian.
Central Carolina Community College has three Small Business Centers serving Chatham, Harnett, and Lee counties. According to Mike Jones, Director of the SBC in Lee County, "In the past fiscal year, our Small Business Centers were responsible for helping start 23 businesses, creating 77 new jobs, presenting 105 business seminars with 985 attendees and providing over 300 client counseling sessions."
Bob Joyce, President of the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce, said that the Chamber has enjoyed a long, positive partnership with the local SBC. "Before we can do our job of helping promote new businesses, we rely on the SBC to do their job of getting new ventures off and running," said Joyce. "We are fortunate to be able to refer entrepreneurs to a one-stop-shop library of resources, without which an enormous amount of time would be wasted chasing down the information they need to start a business."
The mission of the Small Business Centers is to increase the success rate and number of viable small businesses in North Carolina by providing high quality, readily accessible assistance to prospective and existing small business owners, with the goal of job creation and retention.
For more information on Central Carolina Community College's Small Business Centers, contact Mike Jones, Director of the SBC in Lee County, at 919-718-7424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org; Nancy Blackman, Director of the SBC in Harnett County, at 910-892-2884 or email email@example.com; or Jon Spoon, SBC Coordinator in Chatham County, at 919-545-8013 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.