RALEIGH – The North Carolina Community College System Small Business Center Network announced award recipients during a recent conference in Asheville. The annual, statewide awards honor small business centers and center directors for Innovation, Service/Collaboration and Programs/Seminars; Business Success Story Most Impact and Overcoming Challenges; as well as Small Business Center Director and Rookie of the Year. Center directors are also recognized for years of service and professional credentialing.
“We’re very proud of these outstanding Small Business Center Directors and the success of their programs. They are adding value to their communities, helping entrepreneurs reach their dreams of starting businesses. The Small Business Centers, located at all 58 community colleges, are key factors in North Carolina’s economic development creating more than 881 small businesses in 2015-16 and retaining or creating nearly 2,800 jobs.” Dr. James “Jimmie” Williamson, NC Community College System President, continued by stating, “We applaud each of them for the significant impact they make each and every day.
Rookie of the Year
Jerry Edmonds, Halifax Community College
Directors who have been in their position for two years or less are eligible to receive the Rookie of the Year award. Under Jerry Edmonds’ leadership, over the last two years, the Halifax Community College Small Business Center served over 821 attendees in 105 entrepreneurship events including the highly successful “Small Business Resource Day.” Over this same time period, the center also served126 clients, which generated 32 new businesses and helping area businesses create and retain 115 jobs. Six Halifax Community College Small Business Center clients were also able to acquire $338,000 in loan funds with Edmonds’ assistance. Edmonds has also completed all requirements under the SBCN credentialing program and has now achieved Level 3 Certification. To achieve this highest level of certification, Edmonds completed a number of intensive professional development programs including: two Leadership Institutes - one at Halifax Community College and one through the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce; the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship Certification and Incubator Boot Camp; and has also achieved certification as an NC REAL Certified Facilitator. Edmonds was also an award recipient through the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development.
Innovation Award – Programs and Seminars
LaShon Harley, Durham Technical Community College
LaShon Harley learned about a grant from the NC Tobacco Trust Fund when speaking with Durham Technical Community College’s Director of Human Resources Development, Mary Moore. She then worked with the Piedmont Food & Agricultural Processing Center to partner in the delivery of entrepreneurial training that would enable farmers and food entrepreneurs to successfully start and grow agricultural product businesses. This lead to the creation of a Food Business Summit that allowed participants to learn about resources that can assist them with their food businesses. This further resulted in the creation of courses and seminars focused on agri-preneurship and the food processing industry. This is a story that showcases not only an innovative program but also an innovative approach that combines significant collaboration between the SBC, internal college partners such as the Culinary Arts Program, as well as with the Small Business Centers serving Alamance and Chatham counties. The program and the approach leverage two of Durham Technical Community College’s seven core values, unifying and partnering, and has allowed the SBC to focus its resources on a growing small business sector focused on food and agricultural products.
Innovation Award – Services and Collaboration
Lee Woodard, James Sprunt Community College
The Small Business Center at James Sprunt Community College wanted to create a vehicle to facilitate business growth and development in a community that has seen very little growth in population or new business and industrial projects. Lee Woodard, SBC Director, decided to address this issue by joining forces with the local economic developer. Together, they worked to create The New Biz – Duplin County Small Business Challenge, a nonprofit organization that would lead an annual business plan competition to help spur the local economy and also provide tools, assistance and financial resources The winner of the challenge receives a package valued at $20,000 and which consists of a variety of in-kind services, Small Business Center support, and a cash prize of $10,000. The in-kind services include web design, social media marketing support, advertising, donated office equipment, legal and accounting services and real estate support. The competition is open to both new and existing businesses and is intended to not only create jobs, but also assist in filling vacant properties in Duplin County and reinvigorating properties in the downtown districts of several Duplin townships.
Business Success Story – Most Impact
Ginger O’Neal, College of The Albemarle
The Flour Girls Café and Bakery, owned by Carrie Hays and Talia Krites, was just an idea when the business partners first met with Ginger O’Neal in November 2015. Carrie had been operating a home-based business selling designer cakes and cookies and both Carrie and Talia had previous experience in another deli/bakery that was now closed. They wanted to take their experience and talents and open an eatery that would serve the cakes and cookies that Carrie was known for, and also offer signature lunch dishes and specialty sandwiches incorporating the fresh-baked breads that Talia lovingly created. As with almost any business, capital was needed to get their building renovated and to provide working capital. With the steady assistance of SBC Director Ginger O’Neal, the partners were able to obtain a $20,000 grant from the City of Elizabeth City to rehabilitate their building. O’Neal then worked closely with the partners to ensure their cash flow projections and business plan were accurate and thorough before submission to the lender, Gateway Bank. These efforts resulted in the approval of a $50,000 line of credit. O’Neal also assisted with the business plan preparation that provided $5,000 in winnings from the 2016 Jump-Start Competition. This story demonstrates capital formation of $75,000 and the creation of two full-time and six part-time jobs. It is also an excellent example of the strong collaboration between the College of The Albemarle SBC, the SBTDC, several Elizabeth City economic development partners, lenders, and private businesses.
Business Success Story – Overcoming Challenges
Melissa Evans, Wilson Community College
Education Exchange, LLC, is the story of Crystal Barber, a former elementary classroom teacher with dreams to open a tutoring center that would also provide teachers with books and other educational resources. Barber remained committed to her journey into business ownership, despite her business partner’s decision to pull out of their planned enterprise. With fewer resources, Barber struggled to build the business on her own and at the same time become a live-in caregiver for her mom. With the need to tighten her belt and go the business journey alone, Barber was faced with a choice to either drop her idea and opt for a safer nine-to-five job, or push forward with the demands of starting a new business and caring for her mom all at the same time. According to Barber, “I chose to take a chance because of the support and confidence given to me by Melissa Evans and the Wilson SBC. Whenever I had doubts or questions, I always had Melissa by my side to give me suggestions, provide valuable information and experience and guide me in the right direction.”
Director of the Year
Mark Hagenbuch, Guilford Technical Community College
The Director of the Year is recognized for going above and beyond in providing significant support, time and service to the clients within their center’s service area as well as in support of the Small Business Center Network mission at the state level. During its recent excellence awards presentation, two high-performing Directors were recognized for their contributions to the network.
Mark Hagenbuch, in addition to serving as Director for Guilford Technical Community College’s Small Business Center, is also the Regional Director for the Piedmont/Triad Region, providing leadership and guidance to the Directors in the seven SBCs that are part of that region. Hagenbuch also provides oversight and training/troubleshooting support for the network’s client management system. In these two additional leadership roles, Hagenbuch is often called upon to dedicate additional resources of time and expertise and he is always up for the challenge. The ability for the SBCN to successfully record and publish its strong performance outcomes is largely due to the support provided by Hagenbuch, which is considered to be a “life-saver” by many of his colleagues who are the beneficiaries of his assistance..
Director of the Year
Jim Ensor, Pitt Community College
The SBCN is a network of 58 locally operated small business centers that provide uniquely tailored programs to meet the needs of the diverse population of entrepreneurs found across the state. To ensure delivery of both high quality programs and consistency of content and service, the network determined the need for an operations manual that would provide staff with procedures and practices that would standardize operations across the network. This was an immense task that required the collection and organization of enormous amounts of existing information about how SBCs operate as well as the creation of new written procedures. Jim Ensor was selected to lead this project because he had the right expertise, the right team, and the ability to collaborate and reach consensus. The project was initially planned to take two years to complete, but came in under deadline and under budget, and resulted in the first edition of the SBCN Operations Manual, released in March of 2016.
Credentialing and Service Awards
The SBCN also presented its Credentialing and Service awards at its Fall Professional Development Conference. Credentialing awards are presented to SBC Directors who have achieved the required training milestones in Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 of the Credentialing program. Small Business Center Directors recognized for Credentialing, Level 1, included: Steve Padgett, Cleveland CC; Alicia Herrin, Stanly CC; Jerry Edmonds, Halifax CC; Allen Cook, Mayland CC; Mari-inetta Pavlic, Central Carolina CC; Amanda Bradshaw, Sampson CC. Level 2 Credentialing awards were presented to Alicia Herrin, Stanly CC; Jerry Edmonds, Halifax CC; Melissa Evans, Wilson CC; Theresa Peaden, Wake Technical CC; Katy Gould, Haywood CC; Tiffany Henry, Southwestern CC. Level 3 Credentialing awards were presented to Jerry Edmonds, Halifax CC; Martha Larson, Davidson CC; Melissa Evans, Wilson CC; Theresa Peaden, Wake Technical CC; Katy Gould, Haywood CC; Tiffany Henry, Southwestern CC; and Faye Bishop, Isothermal CC.
Service Awards recognize the number of years a center director has been a part of the Small Business Center Network. Recognition for 30 years of service was presented to Anne Shaw, Coastal Carolina CC. Nell Perry, Forsyth Technical CC, was recognized for 20 years of service. Mark Hagenbuch, Guilford Technical CC, was recognized for 15 years of service: Ten year service awards were presented to Jill Sparks, Asheville-Buncombe Technical CC and Jim Ensor, Pitt CC.
Special Recognition from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Charlotte District Office
Theresa Peaden, SBC Director at Wake Technical Community College, received special recognition from the U.S. Small Business Administration. In a presentation by North Carolina District Director, Lynn Douthett, Peaden was recognized with the “Smart, Bold, and Accessible” award. The award is made to a Small Business Center Director who the SBA recognizes as exemplifying these smart, bold and accessible traits the SBA strives for. The award puts the spotlight on the Director who has helped create new systems, new markets for more business, and who has served more communities. The award winner must have the following qualities:
- They make it happen
- They are relentlessly resourceful and productive
- They go above and beyond
- They model superior customer service
- They are collaborative, creative, conscientious
- They work behind the scenes to benefit small business
Congratulations to Theresa Peaden for this outstanding recognition for her work on behalf of entrepreneurs.