As part of its ongoing series of free seminars, Cape Fear Community College’s Small Business Center has added a Lunch & Learn seminar May 9 titled “Access to Capital for Your Small Business.” The free session takes place 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. in Room 529 of CFCC’s Union Station building.
Regarding the topic, SBC Director Jerry Coleman said, “We do think the topic is important because gaining capital is difficult, especially for a small business. To get money, you have to have a business plan, strategies, and an understanding of the start-up costs and financial needs of that business.”
In a competitive borrowing environment, startups looking for capital also need to understand what lending institutions will require from them and what those lenders’ expectations are, Coleman added. That goes back to having a solid business plan.
“A lot of what we do at the Small Business Center is to work [with clients] on plans,” he said. “About 50 percent of small businesses do not make it through the first five years. Only one-third last 10 years. In order to change that paradigm, you have to have a plan.
"And, although it’s hard to foresee, you need to have a financial and marketing plan. You have to anticipate the economy, including the local economy.”
Coleman said that the CFCC SBC did not schedule any special events for National Small Business Week this week, because “We celebrate small business every day. That’s why we are here: to help small businesses start, grow and become sustainable. These are the engines that drive our economy, and they make our quality of life what it is in this region.”
Most of those companies are really small: Coleman said that 85 percent of area businesses have four employees or fewer, but that those small businesses in the Wilmington area are responsible for creating 65 percent of all net new jobs.
With this economic reality in mind, Coleman said, it is all the more important to give existing and start-up small businesses the best possible foundation. Having access to needed capital is one of three essential pillars of success.
“The first is to have a plan, and be forward-looking, which helps mitigate financial risk,” he said. “Second, leveraging resources in the community is critical. We collaborate with the SBA and SCORE. We also collaborate with [University of North Carolina Wilmington’s] Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the SBTDC [Small Business Technology Development Center], which are fantastic resources, especially for innovative companies.
“Third, sharpen your saw. Small business owners need to be lifelong learners, so it’s important to take advantage of education opportunities.”
The May 9 Access to Capital Lunch & Learn session will feature representatives of alternative financing organizations. To reserve a spot, visit the SBC website