North Carolina has 41 Tier I counties. All but one of these low-wealth counties are rural; all have higher unemployment rates than the state average; all have community, social, health and educational challenges; and, all have limited human capital to effectively improve the quality of life of their residents.
The University has programs and resources which can and should be more effectively committed and focused to address the broad based needs of the citizens, communities and institutions of these counties. Section 4.4 of the UNC Tomorrow Report raises the expectation that The University will be responsive to these needs. Section 4.4.2, in particular, calls for enhanced economic transformation activities and support to meet the needs of rural and under-served areas of the state.
The SBTDC in engaging in several efforts to expand its outreach to and service in Tier I counties. It has developed a programmatic strategy for an effective targeted service approach for existing small to medium-sized businesses in these counties. The North Carolina Rural Center has awarded a major two-year grant to the SBTDC to demonstrate the scalability of this strategy.
The SBTDC will provide extensive business counseling and management education services in eight selected Tier I counties – Greene, Wayne, Wilson, Anson, Richmond, Montgomery, Rutherford and Cleveland – through the SBTDC offices at East Carolina University, Fayetteville State University and Appalachian State University. Field staff will be based in the counties served and significant additional University assets will be leveraged to serve these counties as well.
For more information, please contact:
Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC)