College News

RISE program holds graduation for the spring 2023 class

Click to enlarge,  The Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center presented five participants from the spring 2023 Real Investment in Sanford Entrepreneurs (RISE) program with certificates on Wednesday, March 29, at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic & Conference Center. Participants are, left to right: Noah Bostrom, Shannon Connell, Tauna Schachle, Cheryl Crist, and Sean Whittaker.

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The Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center presented five participants from the ... (more)

04.06.2023College & CommunityCollege GeneralSpecial Events

SANFORD - The Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center presented five participants from the spring 2023 Real Investment in Sanford Entrepreneurs (RISE) program with certificates on Wednesday, March 29, at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic & Conference Center. One participant was awarded $5,000 in startup funding to assist in opening her business in downtown Sanford.

The certificates were presented for completion of the RISE program, a nine-part entrepreneurship series created in collaboration with the Sanford Area Growth Alliance - Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Sanford, Inc.

Susan Gomez, Sanford Area Growth Alliance Chamber of Commerce Director, noted of the program participants, "RISE is definitely a time commitment. It is not easy juggling work hours, personal time, and three hours of the program into one day, so I am proud of this group who chose to persevere. Each individual understood the assignment: invest your time and put in the work so your dream can become a reality. It was so exciting to hear the business plans and I'm in awe of all of their ingenuity in creating them. I'm looking forward to seeing all of our participants succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavors!"

Terri Brown, Small Business Center Director at Central Carolina Community College, also remarked on the level of perseverance shown by all of the graduates of the program. "I'm impressed by both the quantity and quality of the work done by each of the participants in RISE," said Brown. "In just one month, they conducted research, wrote a business plan, and set goals to make it all happen. That requires a lot of dedication to accomplish while at the same time learning new business skills."

Participants in the program attend a series of seminars, create a business plan, and prepare a pitch on the final evening of the program to a review committee. Graduates of the program who open a retail business in downtown Sanford may apply for a $5,000 start-up grant.

Cheryl Crist was the latest $5,000 grant recipient as a result of her business plan presentation to the RISE Review Committee. She plans to open a retail store that will sell North Carolina-made goods, gifts, wines, and craft beers. "The RISE program was a very valuable tool that guided me to take a deeper dive into all aspects of my business plan and helped set me up for success," said Crist. "The classes were very eye-opening and thought-provoking. As for the future of my business, it is rapidly coming to fruition. Gather NC will be a one-stop shop for all NC-made goods from wines, craft beers, meats, cheeses, jams, soaps, gifts/gift sets, household items, and more. I anticipate opening up for online sales in June 2023 and opening a brick-and-mortar location in downtown Sanford later in 2023."

Funding for the grant was provided by the City of Sanford. Kelli Laudate, Executive Director of Downtown Sanford, Inc., said, "RISE continues to be a program of helping budding entrepreneurs make their dreams a reality. We want to congratulate Cheryl Crist on being awarded the RISE grant and also the other participants this semester for their dedicated time and effort to their business plans as well as understanding their target markets. There's no doubt we will see increased growth over the next year in the small business sector. DSI is certainly honored to partner with SAGA and the SBC of CCCC to continue the efforts of supporting and engaging small business owners to succeed in the business of doing business!"

RISE is scheduled to begin a new session in February 2024. Individuals interested in starting a small business in Lee County are encouraged to apply. Visit www.leesbc.com/rise for more information or contact Terri Brown at tbrown@cccc.edu, Kelli Laudate at kplaudate@downtownsanford.com, or Susan Gomez at sgomez@growsanfordnc.com.