Haywood Community College has announced the launch of a new program to support entrepreneurs and drive local economic development, Startup Haywood. This online business portal helps entrepreneurs throughout Haywood County quickly and easily connect to free and low-cost support programs and resources (including current COVID-19 relief) and provides access to virtual training and collaborative tools.

The Startup Haywood launch will be held via Zoom Tuesday, February 23 at noon. Interested participants can register through this link on Event Brite: http://bit.ly/2Z09v76 .

"Haywood County is home to a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, complete with a wealth of resource providers ready to assist in the startup, growth and sustainability of our local small businesses," said HCC SBC Director Katy Gould. "Startup Haywood is an excellent opportunity to spark entrepreneurial growth, increasing access and awareness of resources available to small business owners in the region. The platform is a great landing spot for entrepreneurs to engage in shared conversation, connect with resource providers, learn more about key topics of interest, and search for events to best meet the unique needs of their small business." 

Startup Haywood's resource-rich website includes:

  • How-to training on essential startup topics
  • Direct connection to the HCC Small Business Center
  • A community events calendar, which features online webinars and workshops
  • Inspiring stories of local entrepreneurs, mentors, and more

Now, entrepreneurs can take advantage of quality support and plug into the local ecosystem in Haywood County through the click of a button. 

"HCC is excited to launch Startup Haywood in support of our entrepreneurial community," said HCC President Dr. Shelley White. "The resources found at Startup Haywood will benefit our existing small businesses as well as those interested in creating or locating a business in Haywood County. Powered by HCC's Small Business Center, it is a new hub for economic development in our community."

Startup Haywood is one of 10 similar initiatives launching throughout Western North Carolina. The programs are led by community colleges and their presidents, all of whom are members of the NC Rural Community College Alliance. This alliance — formed by Catawba Valley Community College President Garrett Hinshaw in 2019 — serves to align the interests of a group of bold leaders, united in the purpose of activating and accelerating rural entrepreneurship.    

Startup Haywood was developed in partnership with HCC strategic partner, Supportedly.com, and made possible through the support of the John M. Belk Endowment and NC IDEA.

Visit startuphaywood.com to learn more about the regional initiative.

HCC and the HCC Small Business Center would like to thank the following supporting partners:  John M. Belk Endowment, Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, NCIDEA, Haywood Economic Development Council, Southwestern Commission Council of Governments, Maggie Valley, NC, Score Asheville, Western Women's Business Center, and SBTDC.

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 facilitates an economic impact in 90 percent of all NC counties each year and ranks number one in the U.S. 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.