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VGCC to offer Agricultural Entrepreneurship program at Farmers Market

Vance-Granville Community College is offering a new course designed specifically to help local farmers and budding entrepreneurs succeed in developing profitable, environmentally-sound small farms or agricultural businesses.


The “NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship” program will be conducted at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market, located at 210 Southpark Drive in Henderson, on Tuesday evenings, October 28 through December 16, from 6-9 p.m. This is the first class ever offered by the college at the Farmers Market, which opened earlier this year.


The course is a new variation on the “Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning” (REAL) programs that the VGCC Small Business Center has offered in the past.


NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship is designed for small business owners who grow crops or trees, raise livestock, or make sauces, pickles or jams with items from a garden. The goal is for participants to strengthen their business savvy in order to gain the highest profit margin possible.


Participants will consider challenges such as pricing their products; the logistics of getting their products to the market; selecting the best market; and how to generate income between growing seasons. Other topics include business development and management, finance and regulatory requirements, quality and safety standards. Participants will also be introduced to resources and contacts that can help them operate more efficiently and effectively.


The instructor will be Carrie Harvey of Harvey Hills Farms in Oxford, who is also a client of the Small Business Center.


“This is a hands-on, interactive program, beneficial to farmers or anyone who grows a marketable agricultural product, who wishes to start a business or has been in business less than three years,” said Tanya Weary, director of the Small Business Center. “Ultimately, this course will give participants opportunities to develop skills which will increase their likelihood of success as an agricultural entrepreneur.” Each participant will receive free, one-on-one counseling as a client of the Small Business Center , which will help them take their ideas to the next level of business planning.


Tuition for the course is $70, and the cost of the textbook is $25. Scholarships to offset the cost of tuition are available to qualified participants, thanks to support from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission ’s Project Skill-UP.


In addition to the Farmers Market and the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, other partners supporting the program are North Carolina Cooperative Extension and NC REAL Entrepreneurship , which created the original curriculum.


For more information and to register, contact Kyle Burwell, coordinator of Human Resources Development and of Project Skill-UP, at (252) 738-3276 or hrd-wk@vgcc.edu , or Tanya Weary at (252) 738-3240 or smallbusiness@vgcc.edu .