Like many during the shutdowns in 2020, South Piedmont Community College (SPCC) graduate Akilah Cash decided to take up a new hobby. This hobby, which began as a way to make ends meet, became more successful than Akilah had imagined with the help of the Small Business Center at SPCC.
After graduating from South Piedmont Community College in 2019 with a degree in Medical Assisting, Cash gained a rewarding career in the local healthcare system. During the pandemic shutdowns she started candlemaking as a hobby, which became a way for her to make ends meet between shifts in her healthcare job. When she decided she was ready to turn her candlemaking from a hobby into a business, she came back to SPCC and worked with the Small Business Center. There, she worked with SPCC staff to establish a viable business plan and grow her business to what it is today. The proud owner of Grey Candle Co., Akilah is still growing her business and has been able to sell her products in multiple shops regionally.
With more than 6,000 businesses in Anson County and Union County, most of which have fewer than 50 employees, entrepreneurs and business owners, like Akilah, are a critical part of the regional economy. In fact, startups and small businesses account for the most job creation in North Carolina as a whole, with businesses that are less than five years old being the main driver of job growth. Like Akilah, many aspiring entrepreneurs are looking to start their own business and be their own boss, but so many lack the support and know-how to be successful.
At South Piedmont Community College, we think there’s an opportunity to change that. Our college is already a community partner to the regional business community with quality education that is both accessible and affordable. These resources, many of which are free or covered with financial assistance, provide skills and hands-on experience to local business owners and entrepreneurs so they can start and scale their businesses successfully. The College’s philosophy is this: when small businesses succeed, it means the entire community does better with higher paying jobs and a better quality of life.
This November, Union County voters are facing a choice to fund a Community College Bond, which would support the construction of a Center for Entrepreneurship. If it passes, the Center would serve as the next evolution of South Piedmont’s relationship with local businesses through an innovative, holistic resource center for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the region. The Center for Entrepreneurship is designed to provide advising and mentoring services, networking opportunities, in-demand classes that support entrepreneurs learn, connect, compete, launch and grow their businesses.
To learn more about the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Community College Bond on the ballot for Union County voters on November 8th, visit our FAQ page at https://www.spcc.edu/UnionCountyBond22.