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VGCC to offer Agricultural Entrepreneurship program in Vance & Granville counties

With partners at the local and state levels, the Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center will soon offer the “NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship” program in Henderson and in Oxford.

The seven-week course is designed specifically to help local farmers and budding entrepreneurs succeed in developing profitable, environmentally-sound small farms or agricultural businesses.

The class will be offered at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market (210 Southpark Drive, Henderson) on Saturdays, Jan. 23 through March 5, from 8 until 11 a.m.

At the Granville County Expo & Convention Center (4185 U.S. Highway 15, Oxford), the class will be offered on Mondays, Feb. 8 through March 21, from 6 until 9 p.m.

Space is limited to 20 students at each location.

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 at both locations will be Carrie Harvey of Harvey Hills Farms in Oxford, who is also a client of the VGCC 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. 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.

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