SANFORD — Seven hopeful small business entrepreneurs graduated from Central Carolina Community College’s Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL) program during a Dec. 15 program at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
The college offers the 16-week REAL course in partnership with N.C. REAL Enterprises, a non-profit organization dedicated to small business development in North Carolina. The course trains would-be entrepreneurs in successfully turning their ideas for starting their own businesses into workable business plans.
“It all started with a dream,” REAL instructor Diane Kannarr told the graduates. “Now it is time to make your dream a reality.”
Those graduating and their business plans were: Darren Powers — Johnny Glaze Artist, Stephen Townsend — Siler City Solar Center, and Lilian Chew — HHO Generator Services, all of Chatham County; Susan Graham — Susan Graham Aesthetics, and Rodney Richardson — Any Occasion Outdoor Party Rentals, both of Harnett County; and Takina Bristow — Priceless Family Care Home, and LaToya Garner — Monet Hair Studio and Day Spa, both of Lee County.
Powers received the first place award and Chew, the second place award, for developing the best business plans. The Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Expo sponsored the awards.
“Use your business plans,” Malinda Todd, associate director of NC REAL Enterprises, advised the entrepreneurs. She said the plans could guide their decision-making as they establish their new businesses.
Roger Darr, owner of Absolute Computers, in Sanford, and a 1999 REAL graduate, counseled the graduates to “WORK,” an acronym for: Will — the desire to start; Observe — pay attention to your community; Risk — have the guts to start; and, Knowledge — get the information needed to be successful from the class, networking and other small business owners.
Lisa Chapman, CCCC vice president of Academic Affairs, told the graduates to “be real with your business and real with your customers.”
“Do what you like,” she said. “If business owners can do what they like, they will do it well and it will benefit the community.”
CCCC Small Business Center director Jim Felton served as master of ceremonies for the graduation. Also attending the event were: CCCC President Bud Marchant; Stelfanie Williams, vice president of Economic & Community Development; Joni Pavlik, dean of Business and Media Technologies & Public Services; Katie Gailes, Project GATE coordinator; and Herman Morris, 1995 REAL graduate and owner of Manna Christian Resource Center, in Jonesboro.