Last night, we had the opportunity to open our newest innovation center in Chatham County, located at 288 East Street in Pittsboro. At the Grand Opening, we were fortunate to have the economic development team, the town manager, the provost of the community college, banking representatives, real estate professionals, and an array of other participants. The exciting upside of the evening was the groundswell of support for helping more businesses launch smartly. While much of the Research Triangle is hyperfocused on technology startups by young entrepreneurs, it is exciting to think about what Main Street businesses can be started in the bedroom communities that surround the hotbeds of innovation.
Most entrepreneurs in the hinterlands don’t even consider themselves to be an entrepreneur, per se, because that title has become the domain of high growth targeted teams who seek outside equity funding to scale their technology. Instead, many who start businesses in places like Pittsboro consider themselves small businesses. We’re here to say that this i snot a bad thing–at all. When you remove the need for large traunches of outside capital, much of the risk associated with the process is also taken away.
What small business owners need–whether they are just starting out, or needing to jumpstart an enterprise that has been around a few years, is some education about bets practices of running a business coupled with personal mentoring. Unfortunately, that combination is in rare supply. Some mentoring organizations lack a cohesive curriculum that assists business founders in scaling their idea into a commercially sustainable success. Other organizations offer curricula on business planning, but don’t necessarily challenge the founders on whether they even have a good business idea, coupled with a feasible conceptual model that will make money. Finally, mentors who have first hand experience in starting a business from scratch and leading it to successful outcomes are in rare supply versus retired corporate types who have never had a business of their own.
EntreDot is committed to intentionally helping small business founders get the help they need. The unique combination of hand-picked mentors with the right kind of experience and a proven methodology is valuable. We know that there are low cost–even free–alternatives out there. We hope that folks in Chatham County and beyond will make the investment in themselves and their fledgling businesses to create success stories that encourage others to do likewise!