Business Resource Alliance

Participating Organizations

This listing is organized by type of organization. You may scroll through the entire list or click on the link to view participating organizations in a particular category.

State agencies
University resources
Statewide nonprofits
Regional agencies and nonprofits
Federal agencies
National nonprofits
Youth entrepreneurship resources
Capital providers


State agencies

N.C Community College System’s Small Business Center Network
Small business centers are housed in each of the state's 58 community colleges and are often the first stop for rural business owners seeking professional assistance. Among the services they offer are education and training programs, business counseling, information and referrals.

N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
The state's lead agency supporting farms and agribusinesses includes offices for marketing assistance and agritourism development.

N.C. Department of Commerce
The state's lead agency for economic, community and workforce development operates Business Link North Carolina (BLNC), a website and a toll-free call center (1-800-228-8443) that create a front door for business inquiries about North Carolina. BLNC staffers refer many callers to other agencies for specific assistance. In addition, a small business ombudsman helps North Carolina businesses resolve issues with state agencies.

N.C. Department of Revenue
The department collects taxes from N.C. citizens and businesses and provides free information about business tax questions and requirements through its website, 11 regional offices and seminars offered at community colleges.

N.C. Department of Secretary of State

The secretary of state's office provides guidance for various forms of incorporation and maintains legal documents filed by more than 400,000 corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies.

N.C. Division of Community Assistance

A division of the N.C. Department of Commerce, the agency assists local governments with community development, economic development, smart growth management and downtown revitalization

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University resources

Appalachian State University Center for Entrepreneurship
The ASU center conducts workshops, works with Watauga County on its business incubator in Boone and trains the next generation of entrepreneurs among ASU students.

ECU Regional Development Institute
The Regional Development Institute has been providing economic and community development services and conducting applied research in eastern North Carolina since its founding in 1964. Newer business outreach programs of East Carolina University include the Entrepreneurial Initiative and an eastern N.C. investor network.

Institute for Emerging Issues
The organizer of the annual Emerging Issue Forum at N.C. State University, the institute focuses debate on critical issues and trends facing North Carolina and recommends policy alternatives.

N.C. A&T State University
Faculty in the School of Business and Agribusiness help small-scale businesses — primarily those based on agriculture — to be more competitive. The school's International Trade Center provides assistance entering international markets.

N.C. Central University
The NCCU Department of Public Administration reaches out to the community through the NCCU Community Economic Development Initiative and its Entrepreneurship Center. This program was created to promote opportunities for citizens of low- to moderate-income in the Durham area. It includes free courses to aid entrepreneurship development.

N.C. Cooperative Extension Service
The modern "ag extension" service, managed by North Carolina State University, provides educational materials and advice to farmers, agribusinesses and citizens through offices in all 100 counties. Many of its agents are now receiving more comprehensive training in business development, including entrepreneurship.

N.C. Industrial Extension Service
This manufacturing extension organization operates through 19 offices to help North Carolina's small and medium-size manufacturers apply the latest engineering technologies and management best practices to increase productivity, quality and profits.  It also manages the technology incubator on NCSU’s Centennial Campus.

N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities
This nonprofit is the statewide organization of North Carolina's 36 private colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Several of its member campuses offer entrepreneurship education and outreach programs.

N.C. Small Business and Technology Development Center
A service of the University of North Carolina system, the center offers general business and specialty market development services through 17 offices statewide. Its primary focus is improving the competitiveness of existing businesses through management counseling. It also has an online Capital Opportunities report and oversees Inception Micro Angel Funds in several locations.

UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Economic and Business Development
The office serves as a primary gateway to resources at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, matching North Carolina's communities and businesses with expertise in such areas as technology commercialization and small business assistance.

UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government
The School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides education, advice and research support for state and local government's leaders. Economic development has been an area of special focus in recent years.

University of North Carolina at Pembroke
UNC-Pembroke's Regional Center for Economic, Community and Professional Development works on economic development in southeastern North Carolina, including initiatives focusing on American Indians, biotechnology and entrepreneurship. Starting in fall 2008 this center hosts a regional entrepreneurship coordinator serving Bladen, Columbus, Hoke, Robeson and Scotland counties, which make up the Southeastern Entrepreneurial Alliance.

University of North Carolina at Wilmington
This campus has entrepreneurship courses and resources, including a concentration within the Cameron School of Business. UNC-W is leading in the planning and hosting of the 2010 N.C. Entrepreneurship Summit to be held in Wilmington September 19-20, 2010.

University of North Carolina General Administration
The economic development office of the statewide system supports and promotes the entrepreneurship programs of each UNC campus. The UNC Tomorrow initiative is spurring all campuses to step up their involvement in regional economic development and entrepreneurship.

Western Carolina University Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
The WCU center works for regional economic development by training area business owners and stimulating the commercialization of new ideas. The university also offers the state's only master's degree in entrepreneurship and will soon offer a “2+2” entrepreneurship undergraduate degree in partnership with Haywood Community College.

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Statewide nonprofits

IDA & Asset-Building Collaborative of North Carolina
The collaborative conducts technical assistance and training for new and existing Individual Development Account (IDA) programs; fosters partnerships and networks among program partners, state policymakers and funders; and researches strategies that will build wealth for North Carolina families.

N.C. Biotechnology Center
This nonprofit supports the development and growth of biosciences companies throughout the state. Its Regional Development Grant Program supports life science economic development initiatives in communities statewide. The Biotech Center has five regional offices that assist rural businesses in related sectors.

N.C. Business Incubation Association
Local business incubators formed this association to exchange information and promote best practices. NCBIA’s annual conference is held in October. For information, contact  Sam Funchess, Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship,

N.C. Chamber
The statewide chamber of commerce boasts 2,000 members — the largest and most influential business group in North Carolina. It was previously known as N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry.

N.C. Community Development Initiative
The initiative helps local community development corporations statewide improve their organizational capacity and productivity in the areas of affordable housing and business development. A capital subsidiary provides loans for community economic development agencies.

N.C. Economic Developers Association
The statewide association supports professional development, networking and advocacy for economic developers and related professionals.

N.C. Electric Membership Corp.
This utility company provides an array of support for businesses seeking to start, expand or relocate to North Carolina. Its statewide association includes all 27 of North Carolina's electric membership cooperatives.

N.C. Indian Economic Development Initiative
The statewide nonprofit partners with and builds the economic capacity of the 12 tribes and Indian organizations recognized by the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs. It assists American Indian business owners in developing business plans and connecting to opportunities and capital.

N.C. Institute for Minority Economic Development
The statewide nonprofit represents undeveloped and underutilized sectors of the state's economic base. It operates three Minority Contractor Resource Centers and the Women's Business Center of North Carolina.

N.C. Military Business Center
A collaboration between the business community and the state community college system, the center works to leverage the presence of the military in North Carolina. This includes increasing access to military contracts for North Carolina companies and supporting the development of more defense-related businesses.

NC REAL Enterprises
The nonprofit supports entrepreneurship and small business creation through youth and adult training programs, curricula and camps offered through high schools, post-secondary institutions and community-based organizations.

N.C. Rural Economic Development Center
The center seeks to develop, promote and implement sound economic strategies that improve the quality of life in North Carolina's 85 rural counties. Its programs related to business development include the N.C. Microenterprise Loan Program, the Rural Venture Fund, the Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship, the Building Reuse and Restoration Grants Program and the Economic Infrastructure Water and Sewer Grants Program.

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Regional agencies and nonprofits

The regional economic development partnership serves 23 counties in western North Carolina with marketing and services for new, expanding and relocating businesses. Its Certified Entrepreneurial Communities program offers a five-step process for local leaders to follow in creating a climate and support system for entrepreneurs.

Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council
An initiative of AdvantageWest, the council nurtures western North Carolina's entrepreneurs through education, networking and linkages with business capital. It holds an annual conference called Carolina Connect.

Council for Entrepreneurial Development
The private, nonprofit organization uses networking and focused programs to stimulate the creation and growth of high-impact companies in the greater Research Triangle area. With more than 3,500 active members representing more than 1,000 companies, CED is the largest entrepreneurial support organization in the nation.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
The Office of Planning and Economic Development for the tribe offers business training, a business incubator and a chamber of commerce, and conducts market research about viable business opportunities for Cherokee Indians in western North Carolina. The Sequoyah Fund provides micro-loans ($10,000 and less), small business loans and downtown revitalization loans (up to $150,000).

Good Work
A nonprofit community development organization, Good Work helps people start and expand small businesses through business training and ongoing assistance, and encourages them to be active in improving their communities. Based in Durham, Good Work has a strong presence in the Triangle as well as many parts of eastern North Carolina.

Mountain Bizworks
The nonprofit organization provides business training, loans and one-on-one support to Western North Carolinians who want to start, expand or strengthen a small business.

N.C. Regional Councils
County and municipal governments have formed 18 voluntary councils of governments to provide services — from programs for the aged to land-use planning — on a regional basis. Some councils operate revolving loan funds and other small business programs.

North Carolina’s Eastern Region
North Carolina's Eastern Region Development Commission is the lead economic development agency for a 13-county region and supports both newly relocating and existing companies.

Partners for Strong Communities
Partners for Strong Communities is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people build strong, vibrant, sustainable communities. Programs include community gardens, youth entrepreneurship, renewable energy and community development programs.

Piedmont Triad Partnership
This nonprofit organization markets the 12 counties of the Piedmont Triad region for business expansions and relocations. It also coordinated the federal Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant to assist in transforming its regional economy, in part through entrepreneurship. The partnership hosted the 2008 N.C. Entrepreneurship Summit in Greensboro.

Research Triangle Regional Partnership
The economic development partnership supports 13 central North Carolina counties through marketing, cluster development and other initiatives.

River City Community Development Corp.
This nonprofit offers housing and business development assistance in the Elizabeth City region. Starting in fall 2008, this organization is the host for a regional entrepreneurship coordinator serving Camden, Chowan, Gates, Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.

Upper Coastal Plain Rural Entrepreneurial Network
This five-county network for service providers and entrepreneurs is committed to a “no wrong door” approach to helping small business owners find available resources to grow their ventures in Wilson, Nash, Edgecombe, Halifax and Northampton counties. The council of governments office, which houses the network, also manages a new business incubator, the UCP Business Development Center, in Wilson.

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Federal agencies

Appalachian Regional Commission
The federal-state agency focuses on supporting economic development and quality of life in the Appalachian Mountains region, including western North Carolina. Its Entrepreneurship Initiative is a multi-year, $31 million effort to provide communities with the tools to assist entrepreneurs in starting and expanding local businesses.

N.C. Minority Business Development Center
Part of the federal Minority Business Development Agency, this program fosters the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses of all sizes through one-on-one technical assistance and referrals.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development
The Rural Development section of USDA works to promote a dynamic business environment in rural America. It offers grant and loan programs to rural communities and businesses and has service centers throughout North Carolina.

U.S. Small Business Administration
The lead federal agency addressing small business needs, SBA offers a variety of finance programs and technical assistance and has regional staff covering all of North Carolina.

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National nonprofits

This national organization combines community practice, public policy and private markets to expand economic opportunity. It concentrates on communities traditionally excluded from or limited by the mainstream economy. Its annual Assets and Opportunity Scorecard rates each state on its support of the pursuit of the American dream.

RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship
The center, an affiliate of the national Rural Policy Research Institute, conducts practice-driven research and evaluation of entrepreneurial development strategies in rural communities nationwide. It developed the Energizing Entrepreneurship curriculum, which is offered to North Carolina community leaders through the N.C. Rural Center at least annually.

Through eight offices in North Carolina, this nationwide nonprofit supported by SBA provides entrepreneurs with free business consultations and workshops run by retired business executives.

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Youth entrepreneurship resources

Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina
Junior Achievement works with business executives to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise and understand business and economics.

N.C. Department of Public Instruction
The state’s K-12 education agency promotes the Small Business Entrepreneurship course as well as business club participation in high schools statewide. DPI also coordinates the Hop on the BUS!
business plan competition for high school students.

NC REAL Enterprises
The nonprofit supports entrepreneurship and small business creation through youth and adult training programs, curricula and camps offered through high schools, post-secondary institutions and community-based organizations.

North Carolina 4-H Youth Development
4-H is a youth organization committed to building outstanding citizen leaders with marketable skills, including entrepreneurial skills. It works with other partners in putting on entrepreneurship camps and other activity-based learning sessions.

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Capital Providers

Dogwood Equity
A private, limited liability company, Dogwood Equity manages the North Carolina Economic Opportunity Fund. It focuses on investment opportunities outside of the state's major urban areas.

Golden LEAF
Golden LEAF (Long-term Economic Advancement Foundation) was created with money from the national tobacco settlement to improve economic and social conditions in economically distressed and tobacco dependent communities in North Carolina.

Natural Capital Investment Fund
This new offering in North Carolina from the Conservation Fund provides debt and equity financing to small and emerging natural resource-based businesses, primarily in economically distressed rural communities.   


N.C. Bankers Association
With more than 130 member banks, this statewide association provides educational and training programs and publishes the Carolina Banker magazine.

N.C. Minority Support Center
The center provides technical assistance, training and financial assets for 15 affiliated community development credit unions.

The economic development lender serves home buyers, small businesses and nonprofits, focusing on minorities, women, rural residents and low-wealth families.

SJF Ventures
The venture capital fund specializes in expansion-stage companies in clean technologies, business services and consumer product sectors.

Tobacco Trust Fund Commission
The commission funds economic and community development programs and projects that aid tobacco farmers and others dependent on or displaced from tobacco-related employment in North Carolina.

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Entreworks Consulting
The consulting company works with communities, organizations and civic leaders nationwide to design, implement and promote innovative economic development strategies, policies and programs.

Triangle Solutions Alliance
This alliance’s purpose is economic development through small business, and its participating social entrepreneurs offer tailored education and coaching to help businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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