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Staff Report

Dublin, NC – The Small Business Center Network of the NC Community College System is celebrating 40 years of supporting and assisting small businesses and startups across North Carolina. Small Business Centers (SBCs) are located at each of the state’s 58 community colleges, providing confidential business counseling, seminars, and resource and referral information to small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Established in 1984, when the North Carolina General Assembly funded 8 SBCs, the Small Business Center Network (SBCN) expanded to include at least one SBC at each community college by 1995. Annually, the centers assist in starting an average of 650 businesses and help create and retain more than 3,000 jobs.

Today, with over 60 sites, the Small Business Center Network is recognized as the most expansive state-funded technical assistance program for small businesses in the United States, with locations within a 30-minute drive of nearly every North Carolinian.

Brad Johnson, Small Business Center Director, said, “We are pleased to offer all of our services confidentially and at no charge, thanks to funding from the NC Legislature.”

Since July 2023, Bladen Community College’s Small Business Center has sponsored 43 free seminars, with more than 40 seminars scheduled through the end of 2024. The seminars cover topics such as “How to Start a Business,” “Finding Customers,” “Tax Issues,” “Financing,” “Writing Business Plans,” “The Basics of Bookkeeping,” and community interest topics. We have counseled 56 clients for over 225 hours in the last 9 months. For more information and to register for seminars, please visit Bladen Community College Small Business Center.

With the help of the Bladen Community College Small Business Center, individuals can receive the support needed to turn their dreams into reality. “We knew we had a great idea and plan but didn’t have the confidence to move forward. After a few meetings with Brad, we knew we were ready to start our business,” said Jane, a recent recipient of assistance from our Small Business Center Director.

The mission of the Small Business Centers is to increase the success rate and number of viable small businesses in North Carolina. Each center provides high-quality, readily accessible assistance to prospective and existing small business owners, aiming for job creation and retention.

For more information, please call or email Brad Johnson at 910-879-5572 or jbjohnson@bladencc.edu.

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