Small Business & Entrepreneurial Support
These sources can assist in any level of small business development. Whether you just have an idea and want to learn how to develop it, you are looking for investors, or you need support services as an established small business owner we think you will find what you are looking for.
Small Business Center
Small Business Centers throughout the community college system form a network for assisting businesses across the state. The Small Business Center at Blue Ridge Community College is dedicated to the on-going support of business and professions. Services are provided for business owners, prospective owners and employees. The Small Business Center sponsors workshops, seminars and short courses at low cost on a variety of topics of interest to business owners and individuals who are considering starting businesses. The Small Business Center provides counseling, referrals, analyses, evaluations and business planning. Many of the services are coordinated with the local chamber of commerce, economic development offices, city and county merchants or business associations, retired executive volunteers, state commerce groups and various departments within the College.
Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council (BREC)
BREC is an extension of AdvantageWest designed to act as support for entrepreneurs in the WNC region. The primary goals of this organization are to educate entrepreneurs, to assist them in mentoring and networking efforts, to facilitate communications, and help realize capital formation and investment opportunities. Matt Raker heads AdvantageWest's Certified Entrepreneurial Community program, and their full offering to connect entrepreneurs with regional resources.
Mountain BizWorks is a non-profit organization that provides people throughout Western North Carolina with business training, loans and other support so they can start or expand small businesses. Mountain BizWorks offers a basic business class called Foundations, which is comfortable and useful for people with past credit issues, no business experience and other challenges in starting their businesses. This class is taught in both English and Spanish. Mountain BizWorks also offers other benefits such as advanced training, networking opportunities and discount programs.
Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)
SCORE is a non-profit organization of retired business executives sponsored by the Small Business Administration. They provide free counseling to small businesses by sharing their experience and knowledge, which includes subjects such as planning, marketing and production for both start ups and existing businesses. Contact SCORE at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.693.8702.
Small Business Administration (SBA)
The Small Business Administration is a federal agency that has loan-guarantee and direct loan programs, as well as an extensive library for all types of small businesses. The most popular program is the guarantee of bank loans to small businesses, which includes, micro loans and larger loans for capital investments. Loan sizes range from $25,000 up to $1,000,000 based on 25-year terms. The SBA also provides information on starting a business, financing, counseling and training, publications and tapes, minority small business, veteran affairs, women's business ownership and international trade and government contracting.
Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship
The Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship was established to stimulate and support the development of micro, small and medium enterprises in North Carolina's 85 rural counties. It is a program of the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center and builds on partnerships with more than 30 organizations statewide to serve the needs of rural entrepreneurs, community and economic leaders, and state policy makers.
NC Rural Economic Development Center
Created in 1987, the Rural Center operates a multi-faceted program that includes conducting research into rural issues; advocating for policy and program innovations; and building the productive capacity of rural leaders, entrepreneurs and community organizations.
The mission of the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center is to develop, promote, and implement sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. The center serves the state's 85 rural counties, with a special focus on individuals with low to moderate incomes and communities with limited resources.