Haywood Community College’s Small Business Center and regional agribusiness partners will hold a free Regional Agribusiness Summit Tuesday, December 5, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the HCC Auditorium. The one-day, multi-track summit is designed for the specific needs of current and prospective agribusinesses including farmers, value-added processors, beverage manufacturers, food service businesses and more.

“The great thing about this summit is the number of resource providers that will be present in one place.  Whether someone has a question related to the growing side or the business side of things, there will be someone present to answer those questions,” explains Russ Harris, Southwestern Commission Regional Planner.

Food, beverage and agriculture-based businesses are unique ventures and require special business planning methods. This not-to-miss one-day event will provide attendees with the tools needed to move an agribusiness forward. In addition to informative seminars and workshops, attendees will have the opportunity to network with others in the field, meet firsthand with industry-specific resource providers and business coaches.

According to Harris, “(The Summit) is a great opportunity for anyone who has ever thought of starting an agriculture business but didn’t know where to begin or for someone who has been farming or producing valued-added products as a side job for a few years and wants to find information about taking their business to the next level.”

Participants may choose between two tracks that will run concurrently:

Track 1 How to Start a Food-Based Business

Track 2 How to Grow a Food-Based Business.

Sessions in Track 1 will include Business Plan 1 and 2, Choosing Your Market, and Rules & Regulations. Sessions in Track 2 will include Planning for Growth, Crafting Your Farm Story, Rules & Regulations and Financials & Funding.  

Those in attendance will enjoy a powerful keynote session and lunch provided by the Rural Food Business Assistance Project. The Opening Session, Innovation in Agriculture: the Disruptor Economy, will be presented by Kaleb Rathbone, Mountain Research Station Research Operations Manager. The Lunch Keynote will feature Collaboration in Agribusiness: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly with a speakers’ panel facilitated by Tina Masciarelli, Buy Haywood Project Coordinator.   

Speakers and resource providers for this event include:  Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), Buy Haywood, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Farmlink, North Carolina Department of Agriculture, USDA, IRS, Appalachian Farm School, tenBiz and more.

Visit SBC.Haywood.edu or call 828.627.4512 for additional information or to register today. Thinking about starting a business in Haywood County or growing an existing business? Take advantage of the programs, services and resources provided by the Small Business Center. The NC Community College’s Small Business Center Network assists in starting an average of more than 600 businesses each year. Small Business Centers have an economic impact in 90% of all NC Counties each year, helping to create and retain nearly 3,000 jobs annually.