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RISE program proving successful in Sanford; applications open until Jan. 29 for next class

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01.19.2021College & CommunityCollege General

SANFORD - Twenty-five students trained. Four Downtown Sanford storefronts filled. One business expansion. And, perhaps most impressive, 11 new jobs added.

Those facts show the impact of the Real Investment in Sanford Entrepreneurs program, more commonly known by the acronym RISE -- an eight-class program designed to help entrepreneurs launch local businesses. Participants learn concepts, practices and tools to increase their chances for success in the competitive commercial environment.

The program has earned praise from its participants, including:

  • "The RISE program affords its students the access to a vast array of resources. Resources that, otherwise, maybe would have been missed. With the help of the RISE program, my wife, Angie Mundy, is realizing her dream." - Jim Mundy, GiGi's Creations
  • "It was truly a wonderful experience for me despite the physical limitations surrounding the pandemic. I was able to experience an authentic sense of belonging and community with like-minded, local business start-ups." - Chelsea Fields, Eyelight Cafe & Comics
  • "The RISE program has become a great starting point for me in launching our business. The RISE program helped me realize at an early stage that I needed to set goals for what I wanted my business to represent." -- Keiomi Fernandez, Kay's Fashion Boutique
  • "RISE has taught me the quick ins and outs of how small businesses should work and has also opened my eyes to different ways of solving problems within my business!" -- Cassidy Hare, Lemon Springs Vinyl Queens

Terri Brown, Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center Director in Lee County, said she is thrilled with the success experienced by so many of the RISE students who worked so hard to achieve their business goals, even during a pandemic. "While RISE was launched during a difficult and challenging time, the program has had a fantastic start and I look forward to working with the next class of students and with our partners, the Sanford Area Growth Alliance - Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Sanford, Inc.," said Brown.

Applications are open until Jan. 29 for the next RISE class, which will run from March 3-May 5. All attendees must apply online. Classes are free, but participants must be pre-registered and approved to be guaranteed a space. Class size is limited to 12 individuals. Learn more at

RISE is presented by the Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center, Downtown Sanford Inc. and Sanford Area Growth Alliance Chamber of Commerce -- with financial support from the NC IDEA Foundation, a private organization supporting business innovation and economic advancement across the state.

For more information on the RISE program, visit the website