Last updated: December 16. 2013 9:29AM - 823 Views
By - jbaxley@civitasmedia.com - 910-416-5771

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Last year, Robeson Community College claimed an award for its Small Business Center when the college’s center, under the direction of Bob Moore, was named Small Business Center of the Year for the state.

Things are different this year, as we no longer have an award-winning Small Business Center on our campus.

Instead, we now have a multiple award-winning Small Business Center.

Moore was recently named one of three state Directors of the Year out of the 58 community colleges in the state. The North Carolina Community College System Small Business Center Network announced this year’s recipients during a recent conference in Asheville.

“Our Small Business Center Network provides a tremendous service to the communities our colleges serve,” said Scott Ralls, president of the North Carolina Community College System. “Through the education, support and resources these centers provide, entrepreneurs are starting locally-owned businesses, providing employment opportunities and positively impacting the state’s economic growth.”

The Small Business Center Network is organized in six regions to correspond with the system’s customized training regions and to help increase coordination with the regional economic development partnerships. In 2012-2013, the network provided 3,781 entrepreneurship seminars to 46,782 attendees and counseling to 6,971 individuals, resulting in 528 business startups and 2,967 jobs created or retained.

The Director of the Year is recognized for going above and beyond in providing significant support, time and service to the clients within their center’s service area, as well as supporting the Small Business Center Network’s mission on a state level.

Moore was nominated by fellow directors across North Carolina primarily for his service as the state’s chair of the Policy and Procedures Committee for the past three years. According to Moore, the Small Business Center Network has a “flat structure,” with only the state director and the 58 center directors making up the organization. Without a layer of middle management the center, directors are often tasked with administrative duties for the state organization.

In addition to his service at the state level, Moore has continued to run the day-to-day operations of Robeson’s Small Business Center.

In his day-to-day duties, Moore consults with people who are interested in starting new businesses by helping them evaluate the feasibility of their ideas in the geographic area they want to target. “It’s important to note that we don’t make the decision concerning feasibility,” Moore said. “We help with the research. Once the client decides an idea is viable, we help them get started.”

That help comes in the form of seminars on relevant topics and individual consultations.

Moore has noticed a change over the past five years in the type of clients he serves. Before 2008, most of his work was with startups and only about a fourth of his time was spent assisting existing business with problems or growth strategies. Since the economic downturn, fewer people are starting new businesses and about half of Moore’s time is spent helping existing businesses survive and grow in the tougher economic climate.

During the past three years, Moore has offered an average of 60 to 70 free seminars, serving 1,300 to 1,600 students per year. The Small Business Center helped create 17 to 21 new businesses per year and helped create or save about 225 jobs over the past three years. The cost per job created or retained has averaged about $1,900.

If you have a business idea and want help from an award-winning consultant, contact Moore at Robeson Community College’s Small Business Center by email at bmoore@robeson.edu or at 910-272-3631.

Dennis Watts is the Public Information officer at Robeson Community College. If you have questions about RCC or suggestions for future articles, he can be reached at dwatts@robeson.edu.

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