Wilkes EDC awards 2020 Entrepreneurial Grants
North Wilkesboro, N.C. — Six local small businesses were announced as receiving Entrepreneurial Grants from the Wilkes Economic Development Corporation at the EDC’s board meeting on Friday, June 12, 2020. The seventh annual Entrepreneurial Grant Competition received applications from 14 businesses in Wilkes County in several categories including food service, recreation, construction and retail business, to name a few. Business plans were judged with the emphasis being on sustainability and the potential funding impact to the business. Grant amounts totaling $13,500 were distributed this year between six companies in two categories, new and existing businesses.
Stardust Cellars, located at 4780 Statesville Rd, North Wilkesboro, received $2,500 for bottles and labels for a new line of mead production. Owners Kaitie and Nicolas von Cosmos opened Stardust Cellars in 2018 and specialize in naturally and sustainably produced wines and meads using local ingredients. Their mead is made by fermenting raw local honey in water then allowing it to age. To learn more, visit https://stardust-cellars.business.site/. The von Cosmos also operate a taproom located at 1202 Curtis Bridge Road in Wilkesboro.
The Wilkes EDC awarded The Vintage Work Shoppe $1,000 to purchase equipment to help with social media marketing. Hope Jordan opened the Vintage Work Shoppe in 2016 and specializes in re-purposing furniture with Shabby Chic design elements. Owner/Interior Decorator/Painter, Hope Jordan, specializes in hand painted furniture using mineral and milk paints. Jordan offers paint supplies, “How To” tutorials and Facebook Live sessions for paid groups in addition to workshops and private lessons at her business. The Vintage Work Shoppe is located inside of Key City Antiques in North Wilkesboro. Learn more at http://www.hopejordanatthevintageworkshoppe.com/.
Brandon York and his wife Jennifer own Northwest N.C. Batting Facility located at 503 C St, North Wilkesboro. The facility, which opened in March 2020, is a self-service indoor batting and pitching facility for baseball and softball players of all ages. It can be used for private lessons and parties. York plans to utilize the $2,000 grant funding to install cooling units and other equipment. To learn more about Northwest N.C. Batting Facility, visit https://www.nwncbattingfacility.com/.
Brushy Mountain Granola Company, located in Wilkes, says its mission is as simple as its ingredients: “create great tasting snacks that allow us to connect with, energize, and support our fellow life adventurers.” Owner Angela Reynolds, with her family, launched Brushy Mountain Granola Company in March 2020 and plans to use her $2,000 grant award for branded offerings, events, and marketing. Brushy Mountain Granola Company offers nine varieties made with fresh, local ingredients. To learn more or to shop, visit https://www.brushymountaingranola.com/.
Wilkes EDC President LeeAnn Nixon said, “We believe in entrepreneurship and the benefits it adds to a community. For that reason, we are happy to have the opportunity to invest capital into local small business development and expansion. These business owners are using real innovation and creativity to make Wilkes a better place to live for us all. And, the real reward is encouraging them and watching their businesses flourish,” said LeeAnn Nixon, president of the Wilkes EDC. “Throughout the program, applicants can meet with Laurie Brintle-Jarvis of the Small Business Center for business plan assistance, which increases the potential for a successful business venture. Additionally, we suggest mentors, resources and referrals that can complement winning the entrepreneurial grant.”
Nixon also stated, “We want to thank our judges for their time and dedication to this annual competition.” This year’s judges were Bob Urness, Town of Wilkesboro; Amy Blair, Blair Properties; Gia Galifianakis, Gria Consulting; Gary Daemer, InfusionPoints; and Crystal Keener, Town of North Wilkesboro.
Full Press Release: 2020-06-12_Wilkes_EDC_awards_2020_Entrepreneurial_Grants_1.pdf
New assistance program offers help to small businesses
North Wilkesboro, N.C. — The Wilkes Economic Development Corporation (Wilkes EDC) introduced the Wilkes Small Business Recovery Program on Monday to assist small businesses impacted during the COVID-19 crisis and the mandated closures to allow for social distancing. The program was created in 2020 using funds from the Local Expansion & Attraction Program (LEAP), the private funding side of the public/private partnership of Wilkes EDC and in partnership with local government, private donors including the The Leonard G. Herring Family Foundation, Inc., Lowe's and a few undisclosed donors. Wilkes EDC will administer the small business recovery program assisted by a review committee that consists of board members, local government and business community representatives.
According to program guidelines, this funding is primarily intended to assist retail and service establishments, including businesses that serve food, with two but no more than 15 employees. This incentive is available on a first come, first served basis, until funding is fully committed.
“Currently, we have funding available to assist up to 67 businesses. However, with support from local governments and possibly additional private business donations in the coming week, our goal is to be able to help 100 businesses. We welcome the opportunity for other donors to join in funding this new program,” said LeeAnn Nixon, president of the Wilkes Economic Development Corporation. “If we exceed our target goal, we will keep the program active for as long as funds are available. We realize that small businesses are hurting and want to help as many as possible.”
Eligible businesses may receive monthly payments of $500 for up to four months for a total of $2,000 to be used for rent, lease, mortgage, utility payments and/or potentially other fixed payments upon approval of application. Utility payments include power, telecommunications, internet, water and sewer. Other fixed payments could include personal protective equipment, payroll, equipment rentals and insurance. Incentives will be considered a grant to encourage the business to continue to operate and maintain current employment levels.
1) Eligible businesses must demonstrate how the mandated closures due to COVID-19 has impacted their business.
2) Recipient businesses must provide a current lease agreement, mortgage or utility statement.
3) Recipient businesses must provide Federal Tax ID#.
4) Recipient businesses must have at least two but no more than 15 employees. A list of employees, hours worked, and total monthly payroll since January 2020 and throughout the duration of the grant program must be provided.
5) The business must be locally owned and physically located in Wilkes County, North Carolina.
6) Recipient businesses must be an existing commercial enterprise that has been in operation for more than six months.
7) Recipient businesses must provide proof of taxes paid and be in good tax standing with local governmental entities.
8) Recipient businesses must provide bank statement summaries for the last three months.
9) Recipient businesses are encouraged to work with the Small Business Administration to access Federal assistance.
10) Financial institutions, chain establishments, non-profits or home-based businesses are not eligible. *All content submitted will be kept confidential and only reviewed by individuals on the economic development leadership team.
ABOUT : The Wilkes Economic Development Corporation, a 501 c3 public-private partnership, aims to facilitate the creation of new jobs and capital investment in Wilkes County through the retention and expansion of existing businesses and the recruitment of new businesses. The EDC is located at 213 Ninth Street in historic downtown North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
Wilkes EDC offers online marketing grant to small businesses
North Wilkesboro, NC- The Wilkes Economic Development Corporation announced the new Wilkes Business Assistance Marketing Program on Monday to assist small businesses establish an online presence. This grant program is in response to small businesses impacted during the COVID-19 crisis and the mandated closures to allow for social distancing. It is being offered to encourage businesses to continue to operate with an online presence and broaden their client base.
According to program guidelines, this funding is primarily intended to assist retail and service establishments, including businesses that serve food, with less than 15 employees. This incentive is available on a first come, first served basis, until funding is fully committed.
“During the COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, many have depended on their online presence to maintain sales and service operations. Studies have shown that 70-80 percent of people will research a company on the web before making a purchase decision, usually by visiting its website. Having even a basic website can establish credibility for a business. For that reason, we created this marketing grant to assist small businesses to have the means to establish and market themselves online,” said LeeAnn Nixon, president of the Wilkes Economic Development Corporation.
“Currently, Wilkes EDC has funding to assist 10 to 12 businesses,” added Nixon. “We welcome the opportunity for private donors to contribute to this grant in order that we can assist more businesses.”
Eligible businesses that do not have a website or a strong social media presence will be assigned to a designer who will create a simple website and a Facebook Business page. The grant will cover the cost of design, a domain name, three months of online presence and basic training for business owners to maintain their new site. The award is up to $500 per recipient to cover the agreed cost with the pre-approved designer.
1) Recipient businesses must have at least one but no more than 15 employees. A list of employees, hours worked, and total monthly payroll since January 2020 must be provided.
2) Recipient businesses must be an existing locally owned business and located in Wilkes County that has been in operation for more than 90 days prior to February 2020.
3) Recipient businesses must have a valid business address and be in good tax standing with local governmental entities.
4) Recipient businesses must provide three months of bank statements.
5) No financial institutions, chain establishments or non-profits are eligible.
*All content submitted will be kept confidential and only reviewed by individuals on the economic development leadership team.
ABOUT: The Wilkes Economic Development Corporation, a 501 c3 public-private partnership, aims to facilitate the creation of new jobs and capital investment in Wilkes County through the retention and expansion of existing businesses and the recruitment of new businesses. The EDC is located at 213 Ninth Street in historic downtown North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Published by Area Development - October 3, 2019
Dan Foster, Executive Managing Director at Newmark Knight Frank and Chris Volney, Senior Director, CBRE Labor Analytics, spoke with Area Development about the less tangible site selection factors, such as local culture and quality of place, at our Miami Consultants Forum.
What is the “soul” of your company? Many corporations and corporate executives have a firm understanding of what is at the heart of their company: culture. Mission and vision statements, codes and ethics, employees and employee handbooks all serve as windows into the “soul” or internal culture of a company. And the impact of culture on a company cannot be understated—it is vital. Without culture, business organization won’t be sustainable.But what about the soul of your company’s surrounding community? Is it important to your business and its success? For many executives, the culture of their current or prospective communities can be much more difficult to discern than that of their own organizations. But, in site selection, community culture is where the magic happens.
Many companies are no longer just looking for communities that match their business needs—they are looking for places that match, convey and personify their company’s culture. Look no further than VF Corporation planting its sustainable roots in the green-oriented city of Denver, or tech startups that flock to sunny and prosperous Silicon Valley in pursuit of talent and to keep their eye on the competition.
That’s where successful EDOs come into play. No matter what your industry or type of company, honing in on the strategic integration and alignment between corporation, culture and community is vital to ensuring a successful site selection, and in turn, a successful organization.
Just as mission and value statements serve as windows into the soul of a company, an EDO should provide a crystal-clear window into the soul of their community. And, more important, an EDO should creatively show your company’s reflection in the window.
What your EDOs can do
While you might have a firm grasp on your company and every aspect of its culture, it is impossible to have your finger on the pulse on every prospective community in the nation, or even on what you believe to be your wish list. Knowledgeable and helpful EDOs can play a critical role in connecting your company and its culture with the right community.
How does this translate into real-world site selection? Well, if your company has a passion for healthy living and sustainability, a successful EDO will guide you through site visits to LEED certified buildings rich with greenery and wellness-focused amenities, such as roof gardens and health centers. They may also take you to prospective sites that are surrounded by bike paths that allow health-conscious employees to easily get to and from work.
What if sustainability isn’t your most important goal? Maybe proximity to public transport, urban centers, talent and competition is what your company desires. Whatever is at the forefront of your organizational culture, a savvy EDO will show you what their community brings to the table and how it can uniquely suit your needs—while also being clear, transparent and honest about its limitations.
When an EDO immerses your decision makers in the local culture with early morning jogs on the nearby hiking path and sit-down lunches at local restaurants, you can get a better idea of the community’s culture. Creative and thoughtful approaches to showing you how your employees will engage with the community if you locate there demonstrate that the EDO is excited about your company’s potential move.
While your company and its culture are vital to its success, bringing in the third “C” of community can unlock unharnessed potential of your site selection. So long as you team up with an EDO that paints a vivid and honest picture of how their community aligns with your company’s soul, your company, culture and community will thrive together.
Published by Area Development, October 3, 2019
Labor availability is generally the number-one concern of growing companies that need to locate a facility in a new location. Therefore, a company’s site selection team needs to determine which regional markets can satisfy that need. A regional market analysis will identify growing markets that provide the best chance to connect with customers and suppliers and gain the workers needed for success. Data points include population growth, GDP growth, unemployment levels, income growth, and poverty reduction, just to name a few.
However, beyond the data points, a company seeking a new location must also ascertain if a prospective community aligns with their organization’s culture. For example, if a company’s mission statement stresses wellness and sustainability, then communities that have a similar focus should be on its radar. Honing in on the strategic integration and alignment between corporation, culture, and community is vital to ensuring a successful site selection.
Of course, project timelines must still be met. The difference between being able to break ground in six months versus 18 months could be the difference between a project’s success or its failure. Sites that are equipped with roads, water and sewage connections, and permitting in place can prove advantageous.
That’s why states that are investing in infrastructure upgrades are getting noticed. For example, to keep up with the needs of business and industry, Louisiana has undertaken several major infrastructure projects at its airports and ports. And Georgia is a top-ranked state for its distribution and supply chain hubs. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport in the world, with total cargo warehouse space of 1.3 million square feet, and the Port of Savannah, the largest single container terminal in North America and the second-busiest in the U.S.