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CCCC Small Business Center chosen as best in region

CCCC Small Business Center chosen as best in region

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Central Carolina Community College's Small Business Center received the Research Triangle Regional ... (more)

07.31.2012College General

SANFORD - Central Carolina Community College's Small Business Center has been honored as the best in the Research Triangle Region by the Small Business Center Network of the North Carolina Community College System.

The college's SBC received the Research Triangle Regional Center of Excellence Award at the July 20 meeting of the State Board of Community Colleges.

The Small Business Center was selected for the award based on the overall number of businesses it has impacted through its offices in Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties and for the work of the business incubator in Dunn, run by Nancy Blackman, SBC director in Harnett.

"We at CCCC are committed to partnering with our communities to build sustainable small businesses and encourage economic development," said Dr. Bud Marchant, CCCC president. "We are delighted at this recognition and congratulate each of our Small Business Center directors for their dedication and hard work on behalf of small businesses in our service area."

Receiving the award were Blackman, Chatham SBC director Gary Kibler, Lee SBC director Dale Fey, and Dr. Pamela Senegal, the college's vice president for Economic and Community Development.

NCCCS President Scott Ralls expressed his admiration of the college's long-standing commitment to growing entrepreneurs.

"The Central Carolina SBC can boast 40 business startups and 290 jobs created and retained last year alone," Ralls said.

He added that the college has shown its commitment to small businesses by its willingness to provide dedicated Small Business Center support in each of the counties it serves over and above the state's contribution to staffing the SBC.

Ralls noted that financing has been difficult recently for all types of businesses, especially smaller ones. To meet that challenge, the SBC in Harnett applied for and received a grant to increase a downtown revolving loan fund in Dunn. To date, the fund has loaned more than $288,000 and leveraged nearly $1.5 million in additional financing for small businesses.

Ralls also gave an example of the SBC's work with entrepreneurs. In 2000, Blackman worked with Chris West, of Dunn, as he started Elite Gymnastics in a rented facility. The business grew and, in 2009, Blackman assisted West in securing a loan to build his own facility, which opened in 2011.

Each of state's 58 community colleges has a Small Business Center. All are part of the Small Business Center Network. The SBCs are organized into six regions to align them with the NCCCS's Customized Training regions and increase coordination with regional economic development partnerships. The SBCs work with potential entrepreneurs and small business owners to create and expand small businesses through counseling, free training programs, business plan development, and connections to financing and other resources.

During fiscal year 2010-11, 743 small businesses were started in North Carolina with more than 3,300 jobs created or retained and 6,796 clients counseled in one-on-one sessions.

"Our Small Business Center counselors are at the right hand of folks creating jobs in every corner of our state, not just for themselves, but also for thousands of other North Carolinians," Ralls said.

For more information about Central Carolina Community College's Small Business Centers, contact Gary Kibler at gkibler@cccc.edu or 919-545-8013 in Chatham County, Nancy Blackman at nblackman@cccc.edu or 910-892-2884 in Harnett County, or Dale Fey at dfey@cccc.edu or 919-718-7424 in Lee County.