Biz Roundup: City of Salisbury brings back in-person community resource fair

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 25, 2021

SALISBURY — To provide a helping hand to Rowan County parents, caregivers and students, the city of Salisbury is hosting its bi-annual Back-to-School Community Resource Fair on Aug. 14.

The event will be held at the Salisbury Civic Center at 315 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. S. from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. Local non-profit organizations and businesses will be in attendance to speak to residents about support services offered.

Each summer and winter the resource fair brings together local agencies specializing in health, addiction, education and family support in one place to help local families as students head back to school. Information on senior services also is available. The city’s Human Relations Council is a lead partner in this biannual event.

While last year’s event was a drive-thru format due to the pandemic, the 2021 event will be held in-person in the Civic Center parking lot. The event will move indoors if rain is forecasted.

This year students will receive backpacks with school supplies listed on the Rowan-Salisbury Schools website. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Backpacks will be provided while supplies last.

For more information on the Back-to-School Community Resource Fair, contact Anne Little, human relations manager at or call 704-638-5218.


North Carolina receives funding for business center to assist minority business owners

The North Carolina Department of Administration’s Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses was awarded a five-year grant totaling $385,000 to establish and operate the NC Minority Business Development Agency Business Center.

The program will aid in the growth of North Carolina’s minority business enterprise firms in the areas of business development and capacity building.

“Diverse businesses are critical to the success of our state’s communities and economy,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release. “This Center will help historically underutilized businesses grow and create more jobs as North Carolina emerges from this pandemic stronger than ever.”

With the awarded funding, provided by the U.S. Commerce Department, North Carolina will join 21 states and territories offering MDBA and specialty center programs across the country. 

“This grant could not have come at a better time as it will provide much needed support to minority-owned businesses disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” NC Department of Administration Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell said in a news release. “Minority-owned businesses are significant to our state’s economy and the MBDA Business Center will be essential in nurturing minority business enterprise firms, providing opportunities and resources to assist in the post-pandemic world.”

In 2018, there were more than 100,000 minority-owned businesses in North Carolina that realized more than $16.1 billion in annual sales, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To aid in post-pandemic recovery, the MBDA business centers provide minority-owned firms a platform to reach global and domestic markets, enhancing growth, access to capital, contract opportunities and assistance in identifying strategic partners.

 Currently, there are a combined total of 36 MBDA business and specialty centers located across the United States. 

The mission of the Historically Underutilized Business Office is to promote the economic opportunities for historically underutilized businesses in state government contracting and procurement that fosters their growth and profitability.

“I am excited and honored that the NC Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses has been awarded this significant grant to expand on our support of minority business owners who are crucial to our economic recovery post pandemic,” said NC HUB Director Tammie Hall. “The recovery of MBE firms will be a marathon and not a sprint, which is why this funding over the next five years will be vital.” 

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s MBDA is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises. More about the NC HUB Office and MBDA grant, visit

NC Department of Commerce unveils economic development strategic plan for next four years

The North Carolina Department of Commerce last week unveiled its Economic Development Strategic Plan, which highlights workforce development as one of the state’s top priorities.

The plan, titled “First in Talent,” recognizes that investing in the state’s workforce is the key to building a stronger economy. The plan is for four years and identifies three key goals critical to the state’s economic development strategy:

  • Prepare workforce for career and entrepreneurial success
  • Prepare businesses for success by growing and attracting a talented workforce
  • Prepare communities across the state to be more competitive in growing and attracting a talented workforce and businesses

More than 250 individuals provided feedback to the plan’s goals, strategies and tactics during eight regional sessions across the state’s prosperity zones.

The accompanying “State of North Carolina Economic Overview” comprises two parts. Part one examines long-term trends prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second is an update completed in June 2021 specifically focusing on economic conditions that are likely to impact the state’s workforce, business, and community success. 

“The Economic Development Strategic Plan for the State of North Carolina: First in Talent focuses on North Carolina’s greatest asset – it’s people,” Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders said in a news release. “Approaching the development of our state’s talent through a lens of greater inclusion and equity—a lens we apply to our entire plan—will ensure a diverse, strong workforce, ready to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow.  

The North Carolina Department of Commerce is statutorily required to develop the state’s economic development plan and provide updates on the status of the plan annually. The department first partnered with the UNC School of Government in 2019 to analyze the economic data and incorporate feedback from stakeholders, used to inform the plan’s overarching goals.

“The First in Talent plan is one that represents collaborative partnerships across multiple economic development stakeholders, both public and private,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a news release. “It’s a plan designed for the entire state to strengthen our economy for the future.”

A digital copy of the Strategic Economic Development Plan can be found online at

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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