Piedmont Community College and Carolina Small Business Development Fund announced plans to collaborate on efforts to provide access to capital and technical assistance to small businesses in rural North Carolina.
According to the North Carolina Rural Center’s classification system, the state is home to 80 rural counties. Research suggests these areas have less access to entrepreneurial resources, support and capital compared to the state’s 20 urban/suburban counties. These underserved areas benefit from the Small Business Center Network offices, which operate on N.C. community college campuses and provide small business training and counseling. However, many challenges remain to fostering rural entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development.
To address these challenges, PCC and CSBDF have partnered to expand access to capital and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses in rural areas. In this partnership, CSBDF serves as the primary capital provider for small businesses and collaborates with PCC to develop and augment its technical assistance curriculum in the Person County Business Development and Entrepreneurship Center incubator program and Caswell County’s Future Center for Educational and Agricultural Development. PCC also plans to launch the “Building Opportunities on Saving and Training” matching grant program in February, that supplements startup expenses and aids in owner’s equity injection demands for potential loans.
“Supporting small businesses is just the business we want to be in, and with partners like CSBDF we will become a community known for our entrepreneurial culture,” said PCC president Dr. Pamela G. Senegal.
The components of a healthy entrepreneurial environment include training, mentoring, networking and funding. Through collaborating and combining resources, a long-term synergy and partnership, such as this one, may be developed to address the challenge of rural small business development.
“We believe this partnership is an excellent opportunity for both organizations with the same vision to help strengthen the small business climate in Person and Caswell counties. These counties combine to form an important part of the Durham-Chapel Hill MSA and sit strategically between the Research Triangle Park, Piedmont Triad and the Richmond, Va. region. It is important for small businesses that are in such close proximity to important commercial centers to have the support they need to thrive,” said Kevin Dick, President/CEO of CSBDF.