SANFORD — Small business owner Rodney Wilder shared his success as an entrepreneur with the fall graduating class of Central Carolina Community College’s REAL (Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning) class Dec. 16 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
Wilder, a 2005 graduate of REAL, is owner of Tri-City School Sales, FW Inflatables, and Boomers Party & Play, all in Sanford.
“I told the graduates to stick to the financial plan they developed during their REAL class and to work hard,” he said. “The training I received in REAL has been a tremendous help to me.”
Central Carolina C.C.’s 16-week REAL class is offered in partnership with N.C. REAL Enterprises, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing entrepreneurs. The class trains would-be entrepreneurs in turning their ideas for owning their own business into a feasible business plan.
The eight fall graduates and the names of their planned businesses are: Alex Benitez — Events to Remember, Aleida Benitez Hernandez — Tony's Play Pin, Beth Hall — Green Home Builders, Brooke Paschal — Brooklyn's Night Club and Lounge, Samantha Selix — Paws A Day Pet Sanctuary and Clinic, and Jeremy Strothers — DL Token Entertainment, all of Lee County; Elizabeth Crudup — The Glass Carriage, of Harnett County, and Roshonda Peele — Soothing Touch Spa and Wellness Center, of Wake County.
The Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce honored Selix and Hernandez with its REAL Best Business Plan Award. Chamber president Bob Joyce presented the award, which is based on the recipient’s creative idea, attendance, homework, and business plan.
Jim Felton, director of the college’s Small Business Center in Lee County, welcomed the graduates. The graduation certificates were presented by Diane Kannarr, CCCC REAL, business and marketing instructor; Malinda Todd, associate director of N.C. REAL Enterprises; and Stelfanie Williams, CCCC vice president of Economic & Community Development.
“These folks are taking their careers in their own hands,” Kannarr said. “It’s always exciting to see people accomplish the first step of their dream towards owning their own business. I’m very glad to have been a small part of the process.”
Also attending the graduation was Don Miller, GATE (Growing America Through Entrepreneurship) counselor for the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center. Several of the graduates had their class expenses paid for by this program, which offers dislocated workers the opportunity to receive REAL training to become entrepreneurs.
Jody Argote, a 2002 graduate of the college’s REAL class, provided refreshments for the graduation. She operates her own business, Parlez-Vous Crepe.
Central Carolina Community College offers the REAL class in Lee County during the fall semester and in Chatham County and online during the spring semester. For more information, call Kannarr, (919) 718-7247; Felton, (919) 718-7545; or Gary Kibler, Chatham Small Business Center director, (919) 542-6495.