HAMLET — For entrepreneurial Richmond County couple Tim and Nicole Hayden, business ownership might seem like second nature. But they had to work to get the skills that they needed to succeed, and they wanted to make it possible for others to do the same.
“Things are tough right now, and it’s hard for people to meet obligations,” said Nicole. “They try, but they just can’t do it sometimes so we decided to help someone with a scholarship.”
The Haydens, owners of Exit Realty Platinum and Hayden Construction in Rockingham, established an annual scholarship with the Richmond Community College Foundation. Starting this fall, The Tim and Nicole Hayden Scholarship will be available for students who demonstrate academic progress, exemplary work ethic, and a strong dedication to fostering positive growth for the small business community in Richmond County.
Both Tim and Nicole got their Associate’s degrees at RCC, then went on to get Bachelor’s degrees through the college’s partnership programs with Gardner-Webb University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
“When you work and go to school, I think oftentimes you find yourself sacrificing more — especially if you have kids,” said Tim.
With four children and two businesses between them, the Haydens are quite familiar with those sacrifices.
According to Nicole, it is their unique academic and work backgrounds that shape the values with which they do business.
“Small business owners need to know how to think critically and solve problems,” said Nicole. “They need to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. RCC gave us the tools to be able to do that on a daily basis.”
Preferred areas of study for scholarship applicants include Business and Information Technology. The award is designed to encourage students who are excited by all aspects of owning and operating a small business, from marketing techniques to customer service to personnel.
“The ability to make a business plan and actually stick to it is very important,” said Tim.
Selection will be based on a combination of need and merit, but special consideration will be given to applicants who demonstrate leadership skills and community involvement. Applicants must reside in Richmond County.
“We need to build a larger core of people to help out in the community,” said Nicole.
“Tim and Nicole have demonstrated their leadership in the business world,” said RCC President Dale McInnis. “I am very grateful that they have chosen to become part of the RCC team in supporting our studies.”
Nicole added how excited she was to see the new Junior Civitan Club chapter at Richmond Early College High School.
“When it comes to volunteer service and giving to the community,” Nicole said, “you tend to see the same group of people out there. We want to help the kind of student who will put themselves out there and change that.”
The Early Decision deadline for RCC Foundation scholarships has been extended to Monday, April 2.
For more information on applying for scholarships, call 410-1726 or visit www.richmondcc.edu to download an application. For more information on establishing a scholarship, contact RCC Foundation Executive Director Olivia Webb at 410-1807.