At a time when almost nobody is hiring, more and more people are looking to create their own business. But where do people look for hope and help? In Greensboro, there’s one new place: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s BEST Center.
The NC A&T Department of Construction and Occupational Safety opened the Business and Entrepreneurship Skills Training (BEST) Center for Minorities, a new training facility for minority entrepreneurs in southeast Greensboro to provide a professional environment for entrepreneurs to develop and strengthen their businesses, increasing the likelihood for success.
Project Director, Dr. Musibau A. Shofoluwe explains the strengths of the BEST Center: “We currently have four excellent entrepreneurs in the Center. Using all available resources, we do our best to set them up for success, thus strengthening the role of minority-owned businesses in Greensboro.”
All tenants of the Center have completed phases one and two of the Minority Enterprise Training Development Program (METAD), designed to teach them the basics of entrepreneurship and increase the likelihood of success for minority-owned businesses.
Once in the Center, entrepreneurs are provided with office space, one-on one meetings, mentoring, a business library, counseling services, networking events and technical assistance, among other services. Currently, Meant II Shine Photography, Digital Computer Liquidators, Total Image Menswear and Legacy Couture are housed at the BEST Center.
Carina Cole-Jamison, a native to Greensboro, owns and operates Legacy Couture, which specializes in jewelry, handbags and fashion accessories. She found the BEST Center was extremely supportive while she was trying to get her business off the ground: “The program has taught me I can accomplish my dreams. The resources provided – including business plan assistance, marketing and support from an advisory board – have been instrumental in the success of Legacy Couture.”
The BEST Center’s roots began in 2006, when Dr. Shofoluwe applied for funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Over the next two years, the project saw success. In 2008, the BEST Center received HUD funding for the facility, part of a HUD program designed to help historically black colleges and universities expand their role and effectiveness addressing community development needs in their localities.
The Center has come a long way in three years. Dr. Shofoluwe has high hopes for the future of the BEST Center: “As the BEST Center continues to offer technical assistance to small disadvantaged business owners, we plan to increase our one-on-one counseling services as well as expand the resources available to our Associates. Over the next 3-5 years we intend to acquire more space and increase our occupancy by 100%. It is also our goal to continue to seek external funding to continue expanding the scope of our training and development services.”
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Musibau Shofoluwe
Project Director, BEST Center