Randolph Community College Small Business Center guides entrepreneurs

Randolph Community College Small Business Center guides entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur Marcus Lowery was unsure if he wanted to create and operate his business as a nonprofit or limited liability company, relying on the Randolph Community College Small Business Center to provide guidance.

The center gave him material laying out the pros and cons of operating businesses under the two options for his Nu Wine business. This is just one of a few reasons Lowery believes he’s received multiple benefits from being exposed to the center.

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“One that races to the front of my mind is the sense of urgency to acknowledge where I was in my small business process,” Lowery said. “Once I was able to view where I was, I could envision where I wanted to go and what I would need to get there.”

Lowery is thankful for the large number of free resources that will help him create a detailed step-by-step business plan through his entrepreneurial journey.

“I’ve learned that anyone can create a business, but you must gain knowledge to sustain it,” Lowery said. “To have longevity as a business, a business must see a need and generate a plan of action to be successful.”

The center offers classes specifically designed to guide entrepreneurs through the steps of considering, planning, developing, opening, and operating a small business. 

The courses come in various topics, but classes consist of targeting ways to navigate the pandemic to keep small businesses vibrant and sustainable during the past year. Specific topics included social media marketing and website building and conducting webinars with experts.

Director Quinton Louris works with Lynn Richardson, workforce development administrative assistant, to approve webinars and place classes on the website for students to register. 

“The goal of each webinar is to provide free resources to the entrepreneur to assist them with starting and growing their prospective businesses,” Louris said. “We do offer these classes frequently and solicit the small business community to tell us about some of their challenges.”

Read more: How Randolph County NextGen strives to support young professionals throughout community

Louris and Elbert Lassiter, vice president for workforce development, are active within the community. Each attends different partnership meetings within the community via Zoom or face to face, allowing them to get a consensus of what the center could offer to the small business community.

“The first-time class that we’re currently offering is the Black Business Accelerator Program (BBAP),” Louris said. “This idea derived from a discussion within the relationship/partnership between the SBC, VentureAsheboro, and Mid-State Rotary of Asheboro.”

Since last year was challenging, the center is giving the program for free. However, future rounds will have an associated cost. 

This six-session program is designed to meet the demanding schedules of parents and those with jobs, with no expectation of prior entrepreneurial experience. Each week, participants schedule one-on-one online coaching sessions that fit their schedule.

Upcoming courses will include LinkedIn, selling products online, and marketing.

  • May 12 – Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Business at 1 p.m.
  • May 12 – Buy Now! Ways to Sell Your Products and Services Online and Ramp Up Your Marketing at 6 p.m.
  • May 17 – Marketing that Actually Works for Small Business at 1 p.m.

Read more: How millennial and Gen-Z entrepreneurs are giving Asheboro businesses a digital makeover

“This program is designed to help regular people explore and establish businesses in Randolph County,” Louris said. “We do ask that you have a business idea that you want to explore, but other than that, we are simply looking for motivated individuals with a passion and a desire to create generational wealth for themselves and their family.”

Louris encourages people to wait until they have a solid plan since the program will move quickly, focusing on tangible outcomes. 

The center also offers once-a-week Zoom meetings where all participants share their successes and challenges and hear from an inspiring, successful black entrepreneur in the region.

The center’s goal is to reduce risk and improve the likelihood of success. “We’ve helped many potential business owners avoid catastrophic failure and personal financial loss by thoroughly vetting ideas before major financial or time investments.”

The center understands the county’s need for economic development, especially during COVID, and wants to increase opportunities with budding entrepreneurs. 

Petruce Jean-Charles is a Government Watchdog Reporter. They are interested in what’s going on in the community and are open to tips on people, businesses and issues. Contact Petruce at [email protected] and follow @PetruceKetsia on Twitter.