The three local chambers of commerce and the Davidson County Community College Small Business Center are working together to provide Launch Davidson County, an intensive, two-month-long training program to help local small businesses become successful.
Launch Davidson County will include eight weekly sessions that cover topics such as goal strategies, organizational structure, opportunities and marketing, financial planning, business operations, human resources management and pitch development.
The program will conclude with businesses presenting a pitch to local business leaders.
An information session for Launch Davidson County will be held on Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at DCCC’s Rittling Conference Center. The session will explain the program and will have a goal-setting workshop to lead potential Launch Davidson County participants through the outcomes they would like to achieve in the upcoming year.
Martha Larson, director of the Small Business Center, said the purpose of Launch Davidson County is to give intimate training opportunities to about eight to 10 businesses.
Businesses will be asked to apply for the program. Larson said the program will target start-ups and businesses that are one to three years old.
“We have done surveys, and people have valued mentorship and getting to know different types of professionals that may help them,” Larson said. “So outside of what the Small Business Center does, our hope is to really walk them through a great start-up process so that they can have a lot of impact and are ready to go and avoid a lot of mistakes that a lot of small business owners can make.”
Ken Griffin, president of Inheritance Financial Coaching in Thomasville, said part of the information session will be helping business owners see the value of the whole process.
Griffin said the program is about connecting a small group of people to something that lasts much longer than eight weeks.
“Because many folks, I think, get into business and think it’s eating a happy meal,” Griffin said. “You eat it and enjoyed it and move on to something else, but it’s a process. What I hope to do is impress upon people that this is a process, it will require commitment, it will require thoughtfulness, it will require hard work.”
Keith Tobin, president of the Thomasville Area Chamber of Commerce, said relationships are the key to success in business.
Tobin said he believes Launch Davidson County can help connect new business owners with people who have valuable life experiences.
“(Business owners) can sit with Martha (Larson) all they want to, and Martha can help them, but if they see that other experience out there that’s been there and done it, it’s a key to being successful,” Tobin said.
Kent Beck, president of the Lexington Area Chamber of Commerce, said that when Lexington receives new chamber members, they are usually small businesses.
He added that many of them have ideas and entrepreneurial spirit, but don’t have the proper groundwork to run a business.
“The mechanics and nuts and bolts of running a business, that’s what’s they need assistance with — the things they’ve not thought about, whether it be matters of finance or HR or those type customer services ideas that they’ve not thought about,” Beck said. “I think this will be wonderful to support them.”
Betty Vanhoy, vice president of the Northern Davidson County Chamber of Commerce, said the economic diversity in Davidson County has changed from manufacturing and big business to small businesses.
She thinks the intensive program can help the economy grow.
“It’s our duty as a chamber to help support these initiatives and be mentors and help guide these small businesses into the future,” Vanhoy said.
Ben Coley can be reached at (336) 249-3981, ext. 227 or at email@example.com. Follow Ben on Twitter: @LexDispatchBC