RALEIGH – Piedmont Community College (PCC) and Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) announced today that they are collaborating to provide access to capital and technical assistance to small businesses in rural North Carolina.

According to the North Carolina Rural Center’s classification system, the state is home to 80 rural counties. Research suggests these areas have less access to entrepreneurial resources, support, and capital compared to the state’s 20 urban/suburban counties. These underserved areas benefit from the Small Business Center Network (SBCN) offices, which operate on NC community college campuses and provide small business training and counseling. However, many challenges remain to fostering rural entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development.

To address these challenges, PCC and CSBDF have partnered to expand access to capital and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses in rural areas. In this partnership, CSBDF serves as the primary capital provider for small businesses and collaborates with PCC to develop and augment its technical assistance curriculum in the Person County Business Development and Entrepreneurship Center incubator program and Caswell County’s Future Center for Educational and Agricultural Development. PCC also plans to launch the “Building Opportunities on Saving and Training” (BOOST) matching grant program in February 2020, that supplements startup expenses and aids in owner’s equity injection demands for potential loans.

“Small business owners are the heartbeat of Person and Caswell counties, and PCC is excited to announce a new partnership with Carolina Small Business Development Fund that will strengthen that ecosystem. Through this exciting collaboration, both organizations will work to qualify small business owners who have participated in seminars, counseling, and/or PCC’s new BOOST program, making access to capital more likely. Supporting small businesses is just the business we want to be in, and with partners like CSBDF we will become a community known for our entrepreneurial culture,” said Dr. Pamela G. Senegal, President of Piedmont Community College.

The components of a healthy entrepreneurial environment include training, mentoring, networking and funding. Through collaborating and combining resources, a long-term synergy and partnership, such as this one, may be developed to address the challenge of rural small business development.

“We believe this partnership is an excellent opportunity for both organizations with the same vision to help strengthen the small business climate in Person and Caswell Counties. These counties combine to form an important part of the Durham-Chapel Hill MSA and sit strategically between the Research Triangle Park, Piedmont Triad and the Richmond, VA region. It is important for small businesses that are in such close proximity to important commercial centers to have the support they need to thrive. We feel privileged to work with Piedmont Community College to help provide that support,” said Kevin Dick, President/CEO of CSBDF.

About Piedmont Community College
Piedmont Community College, a public two-year institution that provides diverse educational opportunities in a learner-centered environment, serves the citizens of Person and Caswell counties. The College’s mission focuses on assisting individuals to improve their quality of life through offering lifelong learning opportunities, as well as acting as a catalyst for economic development. Learn more at www.piedmontcc.edu or by contacting Scott Keen, PCC’s Small Business Center Director at (336) 322-2484 or scott.keen@piedmontcc.edu.

About Carolina Small Business Development Fund
Carolina Small Business Development Fund fosters economic development in underserved communities through access to capital, business services and policy research. Since 2010, the nonprofit CDFI has invested more than $61.5 million through 749 loans to small businesses across North Carolina helping to create or retain more than 2,544 jobs. For more information, visit www.carolinasmallbusiness.org.

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