HCC Student Business Center to Open Late Summer
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Last updated:Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 at 04:28 PM Posted:Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Haywood Community College has entered into a partnership with The Center for New and Expanding Business (an entity of Smoky Mountain Development Corporation) that will provide rising or recent graduates the opportunity to start a business in a supportive, rent free environment. Recently, HCC and representatives from the Center signed an agreement that will launch the HCC Student Business Center. Its mission is to "help create jobs and economic opportunity in Haywood County by providing current HCC students and graduates with a combination of mentoring services, physical space, and access to funding programs as they launch and grow their businesses."
The HCC Student Business Center will be located in Suite A3 of The Center for New and Expanding Business, (formerly Smoky Mountain Development Corporation), located in the Haywood County Industrial Park adjacent to HCC's Regional High Tech Center, which has been providing affordable and accessible space to new businesses since 1985. Under the leadership of Executive Director Allan Steinberg, a new direction is being taken.
"Some may be familiar with the term incubator, which is designed primarily for start-ups. I wanted to make our facility and services available to anyone who needs them, whether it is a new or expanding business," said Steinberg, who started discussing the possibility of partnering with HCC over a year ago as part a discussion at one of HCC’s Entrepreneurship Committee meetings.
This outreach opportunity was recognized immediately by Entrepreneurship Instructor Meredith Carpenter, who then proposed the idea of the Student Business center to Steinberg in March. "To my knowledge this is the first arrangement of its kind. In a time when budgets are tight and economic growth is slow, we found a way to overcome those barriers for our students," said Carpenter.
Carpenter and Steinberg both recognized that there was a gap for students between writing a business plan and taking the risk to launch a company. The HCC Student Business Center aims to reduce some of that risk by providing office space, furnishings, inventory space, and a commercial kitchen rent free for one year so students can focus on starting their business. After their lease is up, students are encouraged to continue in their own space at the facility and grow their business.
HCC President Dr. Rose Johnson is excited about the partnership. "We had a common goal to serve our community and create jobs in our own backyard. This partnership can make that happen," said Johnson.
There is still work to be done. Two offices are ready for occupancy and the HCC Foundation has provided a grant to purchase office furniture. HCC will be seeking grants and contributions to cover construction costs for walls, inventory lockers, and the commercial kitchen.
For information regarding the Entrepreneurship program, more information about the HCC Student Business Center, or to make a donation, contact Meredith Carpenter at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information regarding The Center for New and Expanding Business, contact Allan Steinberg at email@example.com.
HCC and The Center for New and Expanding Business recently signed an agreement that will launch the HCC Student Business Center. William “Bill” Ragland, The Center for New and Expanding Business President, and HCC President Dr. Rose Johnson are pictured signing the agreement. Standing left to right are David Forester, HCC Department Chair of Business and Entrepreneurship; Meredith Carpenter, HCC Entrepreneurship Instructor; Allan Steinberg , the Center’s Executive Director; and Sharron Donnahoe, Director of HCC’s Small Business Center.