Participants who attended the NC REAL Entrepreneurship class recently offered through Richmond Community College’s Small Business Center gained valuable lessons from business, financial and legal experts on successful business ownership.
The 10-session class that ran from May 2 through June 6 at RCC in Hamlet allowed participants to explore many aspects of business ownership including licenses, taxes, legal structures, cash-flow, business loans and business plan writing. Participants received advice from guest speakers on how to avoid common business pitfalls. Attorneys, insurance professionals, CPAs and bankers from Richmond and Scotland counties also shared successful business strategies and answered questions during the classes.
Reid McIver of Hamlet participated in the class and came away with new skills that will help him better run his custom wiring business.
“I appreciated seeing how the use of cash-flow statements could help my business maximize its profit,” he said. “It will be exciting to see businesses begin or grow as other participants put the skills that they learned from the REAL Entrepreneurship series to work.”
The class culminated with a chance for participants to present their business plans to a panel and receive feedback. Business ideas generated by the group included jewelry creation, business consulting, construction, beauty products and services, and photography, among others.
“I was extremely impressed with all of the REAL graduates’ presentations of their business plans,” said Shannon Gallagher, Eastern Regional Associate for NC REAL. “Their hard work and determination throughout the REAL course was apparent through the professionalism of their plans and presentations. It was great to see how they progressed from the first class to the last, and REAL wishes them all the best in their future successful ventures.”
Merrielle Buckner, a Project GATE counselor, facilitated the NC REAL Entrepreneurship series. Project GATE, or Growing America Through Entrepreneurship, is a scholarship program that provides training and coaching to help rural dislocated workers interested in starting a business. The project is being led by the N.C. Department of Commerce in cooperation with the N.C. Community College System - Small Business Center Network, the N.C. Division of Employment Security, the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, North Carolina REAL Enterprises and local JobLink Career Centers.
Director of RCC’s Small Business Center Deborah Hardison said the NC REAL Entrepreneurship series was perhaps one of the most successful series during her four years of offering the program.
“It was a great success because of the drive, focus and tenacity of the participants. It was about 99 percent participation for all nine sessions,” Hardison said. “This along with the enthusiasm and professionalism of the facilitator, Merrielle Buckner, support of professional community partners and Wendy Massagee, also a GATE counselor, created a formula that resulted in a professional presentation from all of the participants.”
Gallagher also applauded class facilitator Buckner and program partners Massagee and Hardison for the dedication and support they provided to the individuals who participated in the class.
Hardison encouraged small business owners, or anyone thinking about starting a business, to take advantage of this skill enhancement opportunity offered locally through RCC. To learn more, call Hardison at 910-410-1687 or email email@example.com.