Building Public and Private Relationships: The Role of the Small Business Center in the Local Ecosystem


One of my favorite things to do is to connect businesses and to see them flourish as partners.  As the Forsyth Tech Small Business Center (SBC) Director, I consider myself a hub of connectivity.  Among the many services provided by the SBC, supporting small businesses through referring owners to key resources and to potential partners is my favorite.  The Small Business Center is a part of a major ecosystem that North Carolina and local cities have created.  Winston-Salem has a huge ecosystem.  Together the ecosystem organizations provide a wide network of counseling, business education, and referrals. The SBC is a key part of that support by providing quality business events, coordinating mentorship, and knowing public and private organizations that may be the perfect contact.

The SBC works with one to two hundred business owners a year by providing mentor hours with specialists and general counselors.  Through our work as counselors, the SBC staff and mentors assess business needs.  This type of support can range from strategy and business planning to marketing advice and financial analysis. These SBC members have been entrusted with additional funds to not only provide general counseling, but to pay for specialized work.  The funds function as business grants.  These are not grants issued directly to the business, but to professionals who can perform specific work that can assist the business in growing or overcoming challenges.  Providing these funds is a significant change in the Small Business Center Network.  The Forsyth Tech SBC has had the privilege of paying for professional services for twelve clients, since I started in this position in late June 2022.  I look forward to supporting others significantly by providing valuable assistance in upcoming months.

What most people do not realize is that the Small Business Centers have been a part of the North Carolina economic development system for over 35 years.  As a matter of fact, North Carolina is the only state to fund SBCs.  Most states have Small Business Administration funded centers, which are housed in four-year universities.  North Carolina wanted each county to have easy access to small business support, so North Carolina SBCs are housed at each of the fifty-eight community colleges. The Forsyth Tech SBC is located at the Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem and we serve Forsyth and Stokes counties.  Our services are free, including webinars and seminars on training topics such as business marketing, accounting, nonprofit management and more.  We take pride in offering relevant business education sessions that can provide insight into better business practices.

As important as our team’s knowledge of federal, state and local resources, the SBC also seeks to connect business clients who may establish working relationships, benefiting both businesses.  We have found space sharing opportunities, stores that can sell client products, event vendors, and investors.  My goal, as the Director of the Forsyth Tech SBC, is to build up individual businesses and our local economy.

One SBC client and grant recipient, Brittiany Jenkins, founder of The Flawless Skin Company, describes her experience with the Forsyth Tech Small Business Center. “My experience with the SBC has been life-changing,” said Jenkins. “The mentors there are extremely skilled at what they have done and the ideas recommended have helped my business tremendously. I have only been working with them since July 2022 and have already secured a grant to help with startup costs, and my clientele is continuing to grow each month! I couldn’t be more grateful for the knowledge I’ve gained through working with the Small Business Center.”

The motto of the Forsyth Tech SBC is “increasing business success.” To find out more about the Small Business Center and what opportunities are available through the programs and services, visit  I do not want business owners to feel alone.  SBC services are affordable and accessible as a key resource, affecting area small businesses planning, startup, and operations.


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