Mecklenburg County offers free support to local small business owners

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Small business owners have the opportunity to receive professional training for free.

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

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

Get Up and Grow is a business management program that enables business owners with the knowledge and skills to grow, expand and increase annual sales of over $125,000. The program helps local business owners develop strategic growth plans. Participants have access to training from professional advisors, peer networks and 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 new growth plans she’s developing through the Get Up and Grow program.

“We’re the #1 black-owned burger joint in Charlotte,” McDaniel told WBTV. “We have ice cream, burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches. Our burgers are our hero product.”

McDaniel joined the Wake Up and Grow program earlier this year through Mecklenburg County.

“I learned how to create a financial business plan, I learned how to build my website, design my menu, choose better prices, and how to expand my business dramatically,” she said.

Meeting with business owners and offering these items for free is key, says program officer Janelly Rosales.

“[We] I want to make sure that community members can use it,” she said. “We do that through your taxes, so make sure we give you these tools and this knowledge. “

McDaniel doesn’t take this knowledge for granted.

“You don’t want to earn more than 60 percent from one stream,” she said. “I knew I could open a website. Now we offer through GrubHub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats. That helps me diversify.”

The application deadline for these courses is October 31, with courses starting in January.

Click here to apply for the Business LaunchPad program.

Click here to apply for the Wake Up and Grow Program.

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