Haywood Community College's Small Business Center (SBC) experienced a successful year in the midst of a pandemic when small businesses and the community needed access to resources the most. As a result of year-end reporting based on data such as hours of counseling provided, businesses started and more, the College's Center was ranked 11 out of 58 community colleges. Along with providing much-needed resources, the Center is instrumental in collaborating with community partners and resource providers.
Center Director Katy Gould has also found ways to help small businesses and increase small business center services available by bringing guest counselors on board to help with specialized topics such as accounting and marketing.
According to the 17/18 and 18/19 Fiscal Year Performance Metrics, HCC's SBC rounded out the year with an average of 763 attendees at nearly 85 free seminars and webinars. Over 385 hours of counseling was provided to more than 181 clients on average per Fiscal Year. As a result of these services, an average of 122 jobs was created or retained, and almost 30 small business launched during this time period.
While the Center is instrumental in assisting businesses throughout each year, the pandemic proved to be the time when it was an extremely valuable resource. From March through June, HCC's SBC quickly transitioned previously scheduled seated seminars to virtual learning opportunities while adding 15 disaster assistance-related webinars.
In coordination with the NC Small Business Center Network and Haywood County business resources partners, the HCC SBC launched the Reboot, Rebuild, Recover Program for businesses impacted by COVID 19. Launched in June, the program will continue to provide in-depth counseling services with industry and subject matter experts through December 2020.
Working in partnership with a number of federal, state and local organizations, the Small Business Center strives to provide the information and strategies to help move businesses forward.
"North Carolina is home to one of the most extensively funded state small business development networks in the nation, said Gould. "The NC Small Business Center Network is an excellent resource for those looking to start, grow or sustain a small business. Not only for the services provided but also the wealth of resources and information available through a connection of 58 SBCs and business development agencies across the state."
Throughout the past year, the Center increased collaboration with community partners and resource providers through endeavors such as NC Rural Center-Rural Food Business Initiative, Empowering Mountain Food Systems, among others.
In addition, Gould is active in the community by serving in various capacities such as on the Western Women's Business Center Advisory Committee, NC Small Business Center Network Marketing Committee, Haywood Chamber Business and Economic Development Committee, and the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority Board of Directors.
Visit SBC.Haywood.edu or call 828.627.4512 for additional information. 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 facilitates an economic impact in 90 percent of all NC counties each year and ranks number one in the US for total business seminars and participants. In addition, the network helps start an average of over 700 businesses every year and works to create and retain 3,800 jobs annually for North Carolina. Visit ncsbc.net for more information.