Entrepreneurs targeted for free business plan series

The Richmond Community College Small Business Center will offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to become certified in Business Plan Writing through a series of free seminars held throughout the school year at the Cole Auditorium on RCC’s main campus.

“This is a fantastic educational opportunity for individuals interested in learning about starting a business,” said Small Business Center Director Deborah Hardison.

Deborah Hardison

Deborah Hardison

The 10-class series begins Tuesday, Sept. 9, with workshops being held from 9 a.m. until noon on most Tuesdays and Thursdays through Oct. 16. Seminars will NOT be held Sept. 23 or Oct. 14.

Similar sessions will also be held in the spring at RCC’s Honeycutt Center, which is located at 400 McLean St. in Laurinburg. In order to receive a Business Plan Writing certificate, a person must attend eight of the 10 free seminars (24 seminar hours) during fall or spring. Unduplicated hours may be gained by attending the fall or spring sessions.

The series is being offered by NC REAL, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping bring entrepreneurship and small business creation to North Carolina. Each seminar focuses on one specific part of the business plan and by the end of the series participants should have created a rough draft of a business plan.

“The REAL seminars are a fun and interactive journey through the business planning process,” said Shannon Gallagher, Eastern Regional Associate for NC REAL. “Instead of lecturing you, we use hands-on activities to teach each topic. The seminars are enriched by the addition of insights from business professionals and provide a fantastic opportunity to get your business plan pulled together, as well as, network with other individuals in your community.”

Each seminar is a stepping stone to successfully creating a business plan. The initial seminars will assess the participant’s skills and readiness as an entrepreneur, the feasibility of the person’s business idea and whether there is a fit for the business idea in the community. The next seminars will address marketing and talk about pricing and how to promote the products or services.

The operations seminars address the ins and outs of the business; topics include: business legal structure, management/personnel needs, insurance requirements and permits required to open a business. Finally, business financials will be covered; which will determine what it will cost to open the business.

“The REAL series offers potential and existing business owners an opportunity to gain valuable information and skills that will help them to reach their business goals,” said Hardison. “No lectures, but rather hands on experience and practical applications.”

Along with receiving free training and a certificate at the conclusion of the series, each participant will also be given an opportunity to present their completed business plan on Thursday, Oct. 16.

All fall seminars will be offered at the Cole Auditorium, which is located at 1042 W. Hamlet Ave. in Hamlet. Interested individuals must pre-register online at http://tiny.cc/sbcseminars, e-mail ddhardison@richmondcc.edu or contact Deborah Hardison at 910-410-1687 for registration information.

The objective of the Small Business Center is to increase the success rate and the number of viable small businesses in Richmond and Scotland counties by providing high quality, readily accessible assistance to prospective and existing small business owners which will lead to job creation and retention. The Small Business Center offers community-based provider of education and training, counseling, referral and information.


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