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Small business center builds up local entrepreneurs

Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss?

For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, the Beaufort County Community College Small Business Center offers the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed as a small business owner.

From consulting sessions for those just starting out, or years into their business, to a catalogue of more than 50 workshops per year, the Center serves as an invaluable resource for local businesses owners. Best of all, these services are all provided at zero cost.

“We’re going to try to bring resources to current or prospective entrepreneurs or small business owners to help them make good decisions in starting a business and hopefully minimize risk,” BCCC Small Business Center Director Lentz Stowe said. “Really, to make a good decision about starting a business or not starting a business. The success story is starting a business and having someone create their own job.”

The most recent example of these workshops, the Small Business Center hosted a free workshop earlier this week for local business owners and nonprofits on video storytelling. Documentary filmmaker Rain Bennett, a Beaufort County native, led the three-hour session, imparting advice to help local businesses tell their stories.

“Being a documentary filmmaker my entire career, I’ve kind of learned that art and science of taking a little bit and making a lot out of it through simple storytelling,” Bennett said. “That’s who I seek to serve: marketers and business creatives who are struggling with consistently putting out good content that communicates with their audience and inspires their audience to take action.”

Bennett’s workshop this week is one of many such sessions scheduled for 2020. It’s industry experts like Bennett that make up the speakers and instructors. Because they are presented for free, Stowe says the programs offer the best expertise at an incredible value.

“The people that come are vetted,” Stowe said. “They are subject-matter experts.”

At the center of the center’s curriculum, five free courses provide business owners the fundamentals they need, with supplemental, targeted workshops provided throughout the year.

These courses include: How to Start a Small Business, How to Write a Business Plan, Advertising and Marketing, Financing Your Small Business and Recordkeeping and Taxes for Small Businesses.

While the first four are taught by David Mayo, of the Miller School of Entrepreneurship at East Carolina University, the recordkeeping and tax course is taught by local tax professional Keith Kidwell.

To learn more about the resources available at the BCCC Small Business Center, including how to schedule a consulting session and upcoming workshops, visit www.beaufortccc.edu/continuing-education/sbc/home. For more information about the statewide Small Business Center network, visit www.ncsbc.net.