SALISBURY, N.C. – The Small Business Center Network of the NC Community College System is celebrating 40 years of providing support and assistance to small businesses and start-ups across North Carolina. The Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Small Business Center is part of the state network, providing confidential business counseling, seminars, and resource and referral information to local small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Created in 1984, when the North Carolina General Assembly funded eight Small Business Centers, the Small Business Center Network had expanded to include at least one center at each community college by 1995. Each year, the centers assist in starting an average of 650 businesses and help create and retain more than 3,000 jobs.

Today, with more than 60 sites, the Small Business Center Network is known as the most expansive state-funded technical small business assistance program in the United States, with locations within a 30-minute drive of almost every North Carolinian.

“The Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus celebrates our vibrant small business community and its many supporters and ecosystem partners,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of Rowan-Cabarrus. “We recognize our clients’ innovation, determination and bravery and are grateful to play a role in their entrepreneurial journey.”

Embarking on a business venture can be a thrilling yet intimidating endeavor, so when Rowan County residents Sara and Nick Freeman recently transformed a shared passion for adventure into their dream business, they consulted the Rowan-Cabarrus Small Business Center. The launch of Rivers and Ridges, their fly-fishing guide service and outdoor adventure company, was much easier with the guidance and support of professionals.

Through the Small Business Center, the couple had access to resources and programs that proved essential to their success. They utilized templates for creating a business plan, attended informative workshops, and were introduced to an accelerator program specific to their industry.

“I don’t think everyone understands starting something from scratch,” said Sara. “But Small Business Center Director Meg Smit was in our corner from Day One. When we had questions, Meg made phone calls and found resources.”

The mission of Small Business Centers is to increase the success rate and number of viable small businesses in North Carolina. Each center provides high-quality, readily accessible assistance to prospective and existing small business owners, with the goal of job creation and retention.

“Last fiscal year, clients trusted the Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus with counseling and educational services totaling 385 event attendees and 94 active counseling clients,” Smit said. “As small businesses continue to start and grow, we look forward to helping them navigate the road ahead. 

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and the Small Business Center, please visit k.inikuliner.com or call 704-216-RCCC (7222).