SUBMITTED By HOPE HUSKEY
Business Opportunity Fair Provides Ideas, Information, Resources and Support for starting or growing a Business
Looking for information on starting your own business? Wondering about marketing, financing and how other entrepreneurs have achieved success with their ventures? Want to find out how to grow your existing business?
Get ideas, information, resources and support at the Business Opportunity Fair on May 11, 2 – 6 p.m., at Birdtown Recreation Center in Cherokee, sponsored by the Sequoyah Fund, Cherokee Business Development Center, N.C. Cooperative Extension, and AdvantageWest Economic Development Group.
Free and open to the public, the event includes a lineup of speakers and numerous information booths to help aspiring or existing entrepreneurs discover potential business ideas, financing resources, and the critical steps in starting a business. Included will be special information on business ideas for youth. Educational sessions include panel discussion at 5 p.m. featuring local entrepreneurs sharing how they got started in their businesses and the obstacles they met and overcame.
The Business Opportunity Fair will have information centers on businesses involving agriculture, natural products, fabric arts and woodworking, cultural arts and entertainment, technology, and youth.
In addition, the following are among the participants that will provide information on financing and resources:
- Cherokee Business Development
- Sequoyah Fund
- Small Business Administration (SBA)
- N.C. Industrial Extension Services
- Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC)
- Tribal Employment Rights Office (TERO)
The day will also include a brief ceremony at 4 p.m. by AdvantageWest Senior Vice President Entrepreneurial Development Pam Lewis, who will present Cherokee with its official status as a Certified Entrepreneurial Community(SM). Achieving CEC certification recognizes the tribe’s commitment to encourage and support entrepreneurship while improving the business climate for existing companies.
The CEC program was developed by AdvantageWest and requires communities to complete a rigorous, five-step process to become certified. Those steps included assessing the community’s current entrepreneurial landscape, creating a comprehensive strategy for entrepreneurial growth, marshaling the community’s entrepreneurial resources, and identifying and nurturing the community’s most promising entrepreneurial talents.
Members of the Cherokee CEC Leadership Team that spearheaded the effort include: Gloria Rattler (Team Leader), Director of Cherokee Business Development; Nell Leatherwood , Executive Director of the Sequoyah Fund; Hope Huskey, Business Development Specialist with Cherokee Business Development; Wendy Cagle , Director of the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC); Perry Shell, EBCI Councilman; Mickey Duvall, Director of the Cherokee Office of Planning & Development; Charlene Toineeta, Housing Services Manager with Cherokee Community Development; Darlene Waycaster, former Director of the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce; Janet Arch, owner of ML&S Construction & Services; Ellison Rudd, President of First Citizens Bank; Don Rose of Whittier; and Russ Seagle, Senior Loan Officer & Manager of Client Development for the Sequoyah Fund.
The tribe joins Haywood, Transylvania, Watauga, Burke, Mitchell and Polk Counties as certified communities. The CEC program, the first of its type in the country, has been presented twice before Congress and recognized at the National Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education.
For more information about the Business Opportunity Fair or Cherokee’s CEC process, contact Hope Huskey at (828) 497-1670.
Hope is the Business Development Specialist for the Cherokee Business Development Center.