Free consulting for small business facing challenges prompted by COVID-19

Small business is the economic backbone of the North Carolina economy, but like many businesses around the state, small businesses in Gaston and Lincoln Counties are facing unprecedented challenges.

The Small Business Center at Gaston College has funds available to provide free confidential consulting services to small businesses in Gaston and Lincoln Counties experiencing economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two men sitting at conference tableNearly $3 million in special allocation funds was approved by the State Board of Community Colleges to support the Small Business Center Network, which is part of the North Carolina Community College System. The SBCN is comprised of 60 small business centers housed at 58 community colleges around the state. For more than 35 years, the SBCN has helped start businesses, create and retain jobs and support economic development and wealth creation for the state.

Each of the SBCs received over $50,000 to provide additional counseling to assist businesses. Any small business in Gaston or Lincoln Counties is eligible for the program.

“In Gaston County, there are over 900 small businesses with fewer than 50 employees who rely primarily on foot traffic to generate revenue,” says Brad Rivers, Director of the Small Business Center at Gaston College.

“Their customer base remains low as the general public follows shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this has left many businesses vulnerable, with some facing financial instability or worse.”

“Our goal is to help businesses navigate through this ‘new normal’ economy as they learn how to reboot, recover and rebuild to stay in business,” says Rivers.

Two men shaking hands

Counseling services will be available on a first-come-first serve basis to include:

  • General business guidance.
  • Assessing the economic impact of the pandemic on your business.
  • Strategies for scaling business operations.
  • Break-even and cash flow analysis.
  • Marketing assistance.
  • Review of financial obligations and planning communications with creditors.

“These additional funds will help us give more in-depth counseling services than we ordinarily could provide, such as website support, technology guidance, sales and customer retention, developing new revenue streams, PPA forgiveness, and CPAs and attorneys to help with loan compliance or other accounting and legal issues,” says Rivers.

For more information, or to pre-register, click here  or call 704-922-6447.

About Small Business Center (SBC) at Gaston College

The center serves small business owners and entrepreneurs with complimentary seminars, a resource center, and one-on-one counseling. As part of a network of experienced SBCs across North Carolina, we’re dedicated to helping small businesses thrive. Our SBC understands the unique challenges that local businesses encounter, and we’re ready to offer professional advice and guidance.

NOTE:  North Carolina is home to over 800,000 small businesses in North Carolina that employ about 1.6 million employees.


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