College News

Students get 'REAL' about starting own businesses

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PITTSBORO - Ten would-be entrepreneurs achieved a major stepping-stone toward starting their own businesses by graduating May 2 from Central Carolina Community College's Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL) program in Chatham County.

During the graduation program, the students presented business plans they had developed, one of the requirements to successfully complete the REAL class.

The students had attended 16 weeks of classes as well as researched many topics about small business, including legal structure, marketing, demographics and insurance needs.

"You have done something that most people are not willing to do," Diane Kannarr, CCCC Business instructor and REAL facilitator, told the students. "I thank you for being a part of this class for 16 weeks, although I know it hasn't always been easy."

REAL trains participants to evaluate business ideas, become familiar with the requirements for starting a small business, and write a workable business plan to bring their ideas to reality. The college offers the program in partnership with N.C. REAL Enterprises, a non-profit organization dedicated to small business development in North Carolina.

Those completing the REAL program at the college's Chatham County Campus, and the business plans they developed, are: Heidi Bukoski - Farm Hand Services, Frankie Clark - Medicinal Plants and Herbs, Jason Clough - Lock Smith Services, Samantha Crosby - Sustainable Farm (eggs and herbs), Carly Erickson - Mushrooms and Fermented Foods, Lisa Goodman - Cleaning Services, Andrew Mayo - On-farm Microbrewery, Storey Slone - Goat Cheeses, Vijaya Vaidya - Gas Station and Quick Mart, and Darius Vojdani - Hydroponic Supplies.

CCCC President Bud Marchant welcomed the REAL graduating class and congratulated them on their achievement.

"We are very proud of what you have done," he said, "and look forward to seeing you open your businesses."

Each student presented a 10-minute overview of the completed business plan to an audience of fellow students as well as special guests: Chatham County Economic Development Corporation's Entrepreneur Resource Specialist Mari Howe; and college representatives Executive Vice President for Instruction Lisa Chapman, Chatham County Provost Karen Allen, Dean of Business, Media Technologies and Public Services Joni Pavlik, Chatham Small Business Center Director Gary Kibler, and Sustainable Agriculture Lead Instructor Robin Kohanowich.

Following the presentations, Chapman presented each of the graduates with a certificate from N.C. REAL.

For more information about REAL, contact Diane Kannarr (919-718-7247 or email at or Drew Goodson (919-718-7445 or email at