Apply now: Mecklenburg County offering free support for local small business owners

The deadline for applications is October 31st.
Small business owners have an opportunity to get specialized training for free
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 7:37 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Small business owners have an opportunity to get specialized training for free.

Mecklenburg County is recruiting for two programs: Business LaunchPad and Get Up and Grow.

Business LaunchPad is a five-month program that offers participants access to subject-matter experts, business development resources, and in-kind professional service grants. The program targets small, minority, and woman-owned businesses interested in securing governmental, institutional, and private contracting opportunities.

Get Up and Grow is a business management program that enables business owners with knowledge and skills to grow, expand, and increase annual sales beyond $125,000. The program helps local business owners develop a strategic growth plan. Participants receive access to professional consultants, a peer network, and trainings with subject matter experts.

Devin McDaniel bought the Derita Dairy Bar and Grill on West Sugar Creek Road and reopened it during the pandemic.

Two years later she says it’s doing better than ever, thanks to a new growth plan she was able to create through the Get Up and Grow program.

“We are Charlotte’s number one black owned burger spot,” McDaniel told WBTV. “We have ice cream, burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches. Our burgers are our hero product.”

McDaniel joined the Get Up and Grow Program through Mecklenburg County earlier this year.

“I learned how to do financial business plans, I learned how to build out my website, work on my menu, pick better prices, just scale my business greatly,” she said.

Program Officer Janelly Rosales says meeting business owners where they are and offering these programs for free is key.

“[We] wanna make sure this is available to community members,” she said. “We do this through your tax dollars, so making sure we’re providing these tools and this knowledge for you.”

McDaniel does not take that knowledge for granted.

“You don’t want to make more than 60 percent of your revenue from one stream,” she said. “I learned I could open a website. Now we deliver through GrubHub, DoorDash and Uber Eats. That’s helped me to diversify.”

Applications for these programs are open through October 31st and classes start in January.

Click here to apply for Business LaunchPad Program.

Click here to apply for Get Up and Grow Program.