Pathway to Entrepreneurship

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Wake County, N.C., NC

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About the Program

Category: Community and Economic Development (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

Capital Area Workforce Development’s new program, Pathway to Entrepreneurship, is designed to broaden access to resources and provide business connections to Minorities, Women, Individuals with Disabilities, Veterans, Justice-Involved Populations, and Vulnerable Communities. Pathway to Entrepreneurship uses one-on-one sessions with experienced staff to reduce the barriers to entry faced by many entrepreneurs and help accelerate the launch of new businesses. The staff works to find aspiring entrepreneurs that do not have connections in the existing business ecosystem and helps them ideate, plan, launch and grow their businesses to financial sustainability. The goal is to strengthen underserved communities by providing resources, guidance and connections to help create businesses that generate wages capable of supporting families and providing economic mobility. Pathway to Entrepreneurship launched in July 2022 and is working with 40 entrepreneurs in target demographics to provide them with one-on-one support as they build their businesses to the point of financial sustainability. Pathway to Entrepreneurship has recently received funding to expand the program to include targeted marketing support and mini-grants for those who qualify. These additions mitigate the cost of starting a business and create more opportunities for those who would otherwise not be able to afford to start an enterprise.