Established in 1984, the University of North Carolina’s Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) focuses on helping North Carolina businesses grow and create new jobs. To do so, SBTDC provides free management counseling and educational services to small and mid-sized businesses, as well as research, planning facilitation and strategy development to public and private sector organizations so they can foster and enhance their communities’ business environment. With 17 offices located across the state on University of North Carolina campuses, SBTDC can tap into University faculty, staff, and student expertise and connect area businesses interested in additional support to student interns.
Founded in 1967 to provide job training for workers transitioning from an agricultural, segregated economy to an industrial, integrated one, MDC (formerly know as Manpower Development Corporation) now works to catalyze economic progress across the South through training and employment, community college improvement, rural economic development, strategic philanthropy, workforce competitiveness, school reform, and grassroots community leadership. Through its Work Supports Initiative, MDC created and now manages The Benefit Bank of North Carolina (TBB-NC), a statewide effort that connects low and moderate-income North Carolinians to work and educational supports such as tax credits, food and health benefits, and student financial aid. Since 2010, TBB-NC has helped 32,000 low-income households access $48 million in supports.
iNvictus is a coworking office space that offers mentoring, consulting, and other supports to Durham area entrepreneurs and startups, with a focus on minority entrepreneurs. Through its EMERGE (Entrepreneurship, Mentorship, Economic Development, Research, Growth & Education) Forward Outreach initiative, iNvictus aims to provide minority entrepreneurs with the consulting and mentorship needed to grow strong, sustainable businesses. Since the program’s launch in 2010, it has supported about 300 enterprises. EMERGE Forward also runs a range of initiatives to expose youth to entrepreneurship including camps, after-school programs, and in-school curriculum.
The Helius Foundation provides small businesses and necessity-driven entrepreneurs (i.e., people who cannot find traditional, living wage employment) with free business training and coaching, and access to low-interest microloans. In 2017, the nonprofit supported 47 entrepreneurs, eight of whom launched businesses.
Founded in 1990, the Durham Regional Financial Center aims to nurture financial resilience and financial security for Durham area individuals, families, and communities. To do so, the nonprofit offers free seminars, workshops, and low-cost, one-on-one counseling focused on homeownership, budgeting, debt management, and related topics. Through its EMPWRU Initiative, the Center also conducts research on strategies that foster financial empowerment for low- and moderate-income families and provides data and information to lawmakers and community advocates working to advance policies that promote a more prosperous economy for all area residents.
Founded in 2009, The Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) is a student-run nonprofit cultivating opportunities, assets, and communities that support the alleviation of homelessness and poverty. To do so, CEF provides support, workforce development, financial education, and matched savings accounts to individuals experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness in Durham and Orange Counties. In 2016, the nonprofit supported 1,033 people, including 185 who participated in the matched savings program, saving nearly $223,000.
American Underground provides high-growth potential technology, consumer product, digital health, and social enterprise startups with a range of resources including workspace, free one-on-one consultations with local business and innovation experts, and business development programs. Launched in Durham in 2010, American Underground now operates four locations across the Durham area and supports about 275 start-up companies, nearly half of which are led by women and/or people of color. From 2016-2017, American Underground companies created 608 jobs, obtained $39.4 million in total funding, and spent nearly $2 million at local businesses.
Many anchor institutions are also major landowners in their communities, and many are already engaged in housing programs such as employer-assisted housing. Anchor institutions can and should employ CLTs to maximize the impact of their long-term investments in housing for their workforce, and utilize and support CLTs to help build more inclusive communities around their institutions more generally.
A growing number of forward-thinking healthcare anchor institutions have taken up an “Anchor Mission” to realign all institutional resources to fight long-standing inequities at their root by building community wealth.
Anchor collaboratives are stronger and can accomplish goals that once seemed out of reach by combining efforts and resources. However, forming an anchor collaboration isn’t automatic; it takes effort and time to get institutions to see their common interests and potential alignment. The article discusses some ways it can work.
Aiming to establish a resource for all new and growing Ithaca businesses, as well as provide support to student start-ups after graduation, Ithaca’s educational anchors (i.e., Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins-Cortland Community) partnered to create Rev Ithaca StartUp Works. Opened in 2014, Rev offers business mentorship, workspace, and startup resources for any new or growing business that will create jobs in the community. Committed to supporting the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Rev also hosts a range of events to promote discussion, collaboration, and education. Rev currently has 33 member businesses.
With a goal to promote economic development in under-represented communities, the Council for Supplier Diversity facilitates business opportunities and market share growth for minority, woman, and service-disabled veteran businesses. Services provided to member corporations include supplier diversity program development, verification of diverse supplier status, need-specific supplier identification and connections, community relations support, and professional development opportunities. On the supplier side, the Council provides certification services, a range of opportunities to connect with corporate buyers, and initiatives designed to help businesses build capacity. To foster future diverse suppliers, the Council also runs a Young Entrepreneur Academy focused on teaching youth from under-served communities how to identify, plan, and start their own businesses.