HomeTrust Bank recently presented Haywood Community College President Dr. Rose Johnson with a $500 check to sponsor two college employees to attend the upcoming Certified Entrepreneurial Community Program (CEC). Sixteen Western North Carolina communities will participate in this AdvantageWest program. HCC will serve as the sponsoring organization to shepherd the CEC process.

HCC employees Dr. Laura Leatherwood, Director of Community & Economic Development, and Sharron Donnahoe, Director of the HCC Small Business Center will attend the conference in late August. The two will serve as the leadership team committed to building and supporting entrepreneurship programs for Haywood County. They will collaborate resources with others to nurture entrepreneurs.

AdvantageWest will provide training through the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship Institute. Through the training, an inventory of entrepreneurship programs operating in the community will be conducted. A baseline will be established of the community's current support for entrepreneurs. There will be a comprehensive strategy for entrepreneurial growth. The participating communities will be creating a culture of rich resources for entrepreneurs in Western North Carolina. Community resources will be identified and a system for these resources to work in tandem and be easily accessible will be developed.