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RCCC celebrates 30 years of small business support

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 are located at each of the state’s 58 community colleges, providing confidential business counseling and seminars to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College takes pride in our ability to help local entrepreneurs build our local economy,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of the college.

Created in 1984 when the N.C. General Assembly funded 14 Small Business Centers, the Small Business Center Network expanded to include at least one Small Business Center 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.

“We know there’s a ton of information online today about how to start or grow a business, but nothing can replace that face-to-face local instruction provided through the Small Business Centers free seminars, not to mention the networking opportunities,” said Barbara Hall, Rowan-Cabarrus Small Business Center director. “We have around 500 people who attend the seminars at Rowan-Cabarrus each year. We also see more than 100 business owners a year in our one-on-one counseling sessions, an invaluable service, since no two businesses are alike.”

The program stays inspired by local success stories, like that of local entrepreneur Jacquelyn Thomas.

Thomas is the founder and owner of Kids-N-Technology, an award-winning program for children in grades kindergarten through 12 that teaches them how to create STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — projects.

Since attending a Rowan-Cabarrus Small Business Center planning seminar, Thomas has seen her business grow and win numerous awards. She credits her success to the college’s program.

“I attended my first seminar two years ago and I’ve been a client ever since,” she said.

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.

“Thousands would not be in business today in North Carolina without the Small Business Center Network,” Hall said.

For more information on the Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus contact Barbara Hall at 704-216-3534 or barbara.hall@rccc.edu.

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