July 12–RANDOLPH COUNTY — Budding entrepreneurs sometimes don’t know where to start, according to Jessica McDaniel.
The new director of the Small Business Center at Randolph Community College, she helps provide guidance and direction for new and existing businesses in the county through local, state and federal partnerships, as well as counseling, training and other support from experts.
“The biggest trend I’m seeing right now is lending,” said McDaniel, who previously held the same position at Montgomery Community College. “The economy is changing, and I am finding that people are more confident taking that risk and taking that leap and quitting their day job to launch a new business, but they just aren’t sure how to go about finding funding.”
McDaniel and a network of volunteers that include attorneys and accountants advise clients on funding sources other than bank loans, such as the North Carolina Rural Center.
“A lot of traditional banks won’t fund startups. They won’t fund them until they’ve been in business for two years,” she said. “That’s probably the biggest thing right now — access to capital, whether it’s a startup or an expansion. We’re trained to walk them through the loan application process.
While getting credit can be a challenge, the general business climate is strong for small retailers, McDaniel said.
“I’ve seen a lot of art-related businesses lately,” she said. “Really, with all the movement toward downtown development, folks want to find a spot to grow and thrive.”
A Lexington native, McDaniel holds degrees from Davidson County Community College and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She is a certified facilitator through the nonprofit N.C. Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning and has earned top credentials through the state’s Small Business Center Network.
She also founded a nonprofit called Rural RedThread, which is dedicated to rural revitalization, entrepreneurship education and community development.
All of the Small Business Center’s services are free, including confidential counseling, workshops and seminars. RCC also offers workspace and other resources on campus for small business clients.
“Our job is to stay on the up-and-up at the local, state and federal level about what’s going on in the small business world,” McDaniel said. “We’ll serve clients wherever they need us to.”
This article provided by NewsEdge.