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STEP for Small Business

NC Small Towns Economic Prosperity Program (NC STEP) supports the economic recovery and revitalization of North Carolina’s small towns through a combination of technical assistance, educational opportunities, and grantmaking. NC STEP was launched in spring 2006 as the centerpiece of the Small Towns Initiative.

Program Goals

  • Support economic development in small towns adversely affected by structural changes in the economy or recent natural disasters.
  • Implement a comprehensive model of technical assistance and grantmaking to aid in revitalization efforts.
  • Provide information vital to the development of public policies that support long-term investment in the economic vitality of North Carolina’s small towns.

The Four Step Process:

NC STEP incorporates four elements in helping towns achieve a new course.

  • Coaching: A community coach works closely with each town to provide guidance and recommendations, but the towns themselves determine their own course of action.
  • Training: Through leadership training, skill-building workshops, and information sharing, townspeople gain knowledge and skills that will serve their towns for years to come.
  • Planning: The planning process seeks the active participation of all elements of the community in developing an economic development strategy. This promotes widespread buy-in and builds teams for project implementation.
  • Grants: Planning and implementation grants give NC STEP communities a jump-start in carrying out their economic development strategy. Team members also are introduced to other funding opportunities from the Rural Center and elsewhere.