CCCC Small Business Center receives Innovation Award

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SANFORD — The North Carolina Community College System Small Business Center Network awarded the Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center the Innovation Award: Programs/Services during its annual statewide Center of Excellence awards in Wrightsville Beach on Oct. 14.

The award was presented for innovation in program development for the RISE program, an eight-class series created in collaboration with the Sanford Area Growth Alliance/Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Sanford Inc. The RISE program introduces prospective and existing business owners in Lee County to the tools and training necessary for business success.

“Collaborating with the Sanford Area Growth Alliance/Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Sanford Inc. on RISE has been a fantastic experience,” said Terri Brown, CCCC Small Business Center Director. “Kelli Laudate (Downtown Sanford Inc. Executive Director) and Meg Moss (Chamber of Commerce Executive Director) have been instrumental in its success and I am certain that the program will continue to innovate and grow as we move into the future.”

In the RISE program, participants attend a series of seminars, create a business plan, have their business plans reviewed, prepare a pitch to the RISE Review Committee on the final night of the program, and are connected with necessary resources and potential partners.

Participants that graduate from the program and open a retail business in downtown Sanford, Jonesboro, or Broadway may apply for a $5,000 startup grant.

Since the program began in early 2020, six retail businesses have held grand openings and two home-based businesses have opened. To date, 23 new jobs have been created. Participants who opened businesses during the pandemic were also given additional support during the startup period.

“I am thrilled with the new businesses that have opened in Sanford and I look forward to assisting many more new business open in the coming months,” said Brown.

Learn more about the Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center at www.cccc.edu/sbc.

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