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The organization is seeking entrepreneurs and small business owners to join its Small Business Coalition initiative–already 272 members have signed on to advocate for more robust policies and programs to support the state’s small business communities.


Key Facts

  • The NC Small Business Coalition is a key initiative that came out of the NC Rural Center’s Small Business Policy Task Force in 2021, with a goal of building a strong network to inform and advocate for state-wide small business policies, programs, and resources.
  • The Coalition seeks a diverse membership base from across the state to build a network that is not only geographically representative of the state’s growing population, but of the business community as well. The coalition seeks broad representation from those of all ethnicities, genders, ages and business sectors.
  • Part of a larger national effort focusing on small business development, the initiative is supported by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The NC Small Business Coalition supports members in promoting policy action and engagement– keeping them informed of critical policy developments and providing advocacy opportunities and programs to engage state and local-elected leaders.
July 27, 2021, Raleigh, NC – The NC Rural Center’s Small Business Coalition is actively recruiting entrepreneurs, small business owners, advocates, and resource providers from communities across the state. This coalition, created out of an initiative from the Center’s Small Business Policy Task Force, is building a strong coalition of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and advocates to back policies and programs geared at supporting the state’s vital small business community. With 272 members, representing 70 North Carolina counties, signed on to the Coalition, the network is already seeing strong interest.
“Collaboration is crucial to build a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem across North Carolina that will foster job creation in rural, urban, and suburban areas alike,” said Jose Alvarez, vice president of Prospera North Carolina and a member of the Task Force. “Getting involved with the Rural Center and serving on the Small Business Coalition has been productive and focused on using equity-based, data-driven tools to create a roadmap for reducing barriers to entrepreneurship.”
The Center’s Task Force and Small Business Coalition share the goal of supporting entrepreneurial businesses through direct policy advocacy and engagement. These efforts aim to provide specific recommended steps on policies in North Carolina’s New Small Business Plan: A Pathway to Prosperity for All that will reduce barriers for new businesses–and ultimately lead to new job growth throughout the state, across rural, urban and suburban communities.
Individuals and organizations that sign on to the NC Small Business Coalition, are voicing their support for a statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem that promotes an equitable, level playing field for all entrepreneurs; greater access to funding and capital; increased resources equipping entrepreneurs with the knowledge to start a business; and the adequate supports needed for those launching and expanding a business.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Rural Center’s Small Business Coalition efforts and have my voice heard as a Latina business owner,” said Nora Anaya, owner of the food truck Ta Contento. “I encourage fellow small business owners across North Carolina to participate, to elevate our opinions and advance in supporting all entrepreneurs across the state.”
According to the pre-pandemic 2020 North Carolina Small Business Economic Profile, there are more than 900,000 small businesses in North Carolina, which account for more than 45 percent of all North Carolina’s employees. With almost half of the state’s workforce made up of small business owners and entrepreneurs, their voice remains undeniably critical–especially following the economic downfall caused by the pandemic which amplified the serious existing issues facing our state’s small business owners. More specifically:
  • Between 2005 and 2015, there was a seven percent decline in very small business establishments in rural North Carolina (compared to a nine percent gain in urban counties).
  • Between 2010 and 2020, there was a 27 percent decline in bank branches in rural North Carolina (compared to a 10 percent decline in urban countries).
  • Between 2005 and 2015, rural counties experienced a 61 percent decline in small business lending, for a total decline of more than $1.6 billion.
“The focus on North Carolina’s small business community is very timely amid the post-pandemic economic recovery across the state and nation,” said NC Rural Center Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy Brandy Bynum Dawson. “It’s imperative that we elevate the diverse voices of small businesses to ensure that they are an integral part of the recovery phase and beyond.
For more information on the Coalition membership process and program specifics, please visit the website here.
About the NC Rural Center
For 30 years, the NC Rural Center has worked to develop, promote, and implement sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. The Rural Center serves the state’s 80 rural counties, with a special focus on individuals with low-to-moderate incomes and communities with limited resources.