For many people thinking of starting a new business, few opportunities exist to learn first-hand how to market, operate, or expand the business without placing substantial capital at risk.  However, that will soon change. 

The North Carolina Community College System’s Small Business Center Network (SBCN) recently awarded a number of grants to community colleges to develop innovative entrepreneurial training programs.  The Small Business Centers at Martin Community College (MCC) and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College (A-B Tech) received a grant to develop a Small Business Micro Incubator project called “Living Your Dream.”  The program provides real-life experiences for clients thinking of starting a bed and breakfast or a restaurant business.  In addition, the program will generate income for existing businesses and help stimulate growth in North Carolina’s hospitality and tourism industry.

The program, “Living Your Dream,” will establish a network of model businesses that will expose Small Business Center clients to actual work practices, principles, and problems.

Business mentors will be selected based on a formalized credentialing process.  Applicants will be screened to ensure they are committed to pursuing a career in one of the available hospitality/tourism business models in the “Living Your Dream” program – current models are a bed and breakfast in Martin County or a restaurant in the Asheville area. 

 It is anticipated that the program will be replicated at other community colleges across the state.  “Living Your Dream” is designed so that other entrepreneurial training, such as agri-tourism, retail, or event planning, can be provided to aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Small Business Centers throughout the state are eligible to participate in the “Living Your Dream” program.  Interested participants should contact their local Community College Small Business Center Director for more information.  To locate your nearest SBC director, please click here. Additional details are also available in this informative flyer.

Updated 7/11/2011 5:00:49 PM | B Johnson