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Free Entrepreneurial Seminars

These two- to three-hour seminars cover a wide range of small business topics. Most of these seminars are held at Durham Tech’s Small Business Center, located in the SOUTHBank Building in Durham or at the Orange County Campus in Hillsborough.

Small Business seminars are free. Registration is strongly encouraged. Registration allows the SBC to contact you regarding any changes (inclement weather, location, cancellations, etc.). We also encourage you to come early to secure your seat, since seating is limited.

Durham County seminars are offered in partnership with the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

Orange County seminars are offered in partnership with the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, the Hillsborough/Orange Chamber of Commerce and Chapel Hill SCORE.

Business Over Lunch (BOL) Seminars (11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.) seminars are offered in partnership with the NC Women’s Business Center.

Next Level Growth Series sessions are offered in partnership with the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Small Business and Technology Development Center, and the NC Women’s Business Center.


Starting a Business Series

Thinking of Starting a Business?

This seminar provides information including, but not limited to, whether or not you are ready, questions to answer prior to starting the business, where business ideas come from, governmental requirements, and available resources. This session is the perfect place to bring all your startup questions.

SBC15007 M 1/12 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 105
SBC15008-BOL Th 2/12 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15009 T 3/10 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15010-BOL W 3/25 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 106

Thinking of Starting a Nonprofit?

This seminar provides information including, but not limited to, whether or not you are ready, questions to answer prior to starting the business, where business ideas come from, governmental requirements, and available resources. This session is the perfect place to bring all your nonprofit startup questions.

SBC15011-BOL W 1/28 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15012 M 2/23 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 106
SBC15013 T 3/24 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15014-BOL T 4/14 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 105

ABCs of Starting a Business

Find out what it takes to start your own business. Explore legal entities, business license requirements, business plans, marketing strategies, funding programs, grant opportunities, and much more. Taught by Melissa Rivera, Women’s Business Center. .

SBC15002-BOL W 1/21 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312

The Best Small Business to Start Right Now

FWhat would be the best small business for you to start right now? Focus on three areas: how to create a business idea that fits you, “hot” businesses that will grow in coming years, and five easy-to-use steps to starting a business. Learn about more than 30 types of businesses with growth potential. Taught by Mike Collins, Perfect Workday Inc. .

SBC15003 M 1/26 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 105

Manage Your Debt and Credit Prior to Starting Your Business

Start or grow your business in strong financial shape by learning how to obtain, review, and understand your personal credit report; how to significantly increase your credit score in as little as 90 days; how to rapidly reduce or eliminate debt; and how to successfully negotiate with creditors to lower your interest rates. Leave ready to play the credit game to win. Taught by Greg Frank, Financial Fitness Center. .

SBC15006 T 1/27 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

10 Steps to Starting Your Own Business

Starting your own business may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not too hard if you take it step by step. Learn the steps you need to take to make your dream become a reality. Our consultant has trained hundreds of entrepreneurs across the state in starting, marketing, and managing a business. Taught by Jess McLamb, Roper Bookkeeping. .

SBC15001 T 2/3 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

Introduction to Social Enterprises

B Corp? Benefits corporation? Fourth sector? Social enterprises versus social entrepreneurs — same or different? What are these type of businesses? Can I have a for-profit with a social mission? Entrepreneurs learn the answers to these and other questions. Offered in partnership with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. Taught by Aaron Nelson, executive director of Partnership for a Sustainable Community, chair of NC Fourth Sector Cluster Initiative, co-chair of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, and CEO of Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce..

SBC15004-BOL W 2/18 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. CCCC
SBC15005 M 3/9 6:30–8:30 p.m. CCCC

Business Planning Basics for Entrepreneurs Series

Next-Level Growth Roundtable

What are the issues affecting small business? What are the benchmarks that businesses should be using? Is your business running efficiently and effectively? What books are recommended for entrepreneurs to read and/or reference? Where can you get assistance with issues specific to your company? Come and discuss the answers to these questions and more with other business owners and business advisors in a roundtable format. Seating is limited.

SBC15034 T 1/13 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15035-BOL T 2/17 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 106
SBC15036 Th 3/19 1–3 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15037 M 4/20 6:30–8:30 p.m. OCC 104

Entrepreneurs Getting an Understanding of Their Financial Statements

So you have your accountant or accounting software program generate your financial statements, but what do they mean? This seminar helps entrepreneurs understand balance sheets, income or profit/loss statements, and statements of cash flows, as well as the secrets they may hold to your business’s success. Taught by Joe Battle, ISYSIS Inc.

SBC15041 M 4/13 6:30–8:30 p.m. OCC

Small Business Resources

Starting a business can be confusing, challenging, and frustrating. Whether your business is new or established — or if you’re just cultivating the seed of a great idea — success depends on getting the assistance you need, when you need it. Learn about programs and resources available to current and future small business owners. Taught by Alyssa Mako, Women’s Business Center.

SBC15038-BOL W 2/11 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312

Creating a Winning Business Plan

If you think the time is right to start a business, you must create a winning business plan. Learn how to easily create a simple business plan by reviewing which parts of the plan that must be created in specific ways, which parts of the plan bankers focus on, and what the overall plan must look like. Taught by Mike Collins, The Perfect Workday Company

SBC15015 T 4/21 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

Entrepreneurs Avoiding Common Business Plan Mistakes

Using real-life stories, aspiring and existing entrepreneurs learn the common mistakes made during the business planning process for startup, emerging, and existing businesses that are revealed in the written plan. Entrepreneurs gain an understanding of the potential effects of these mistakes and how to avoid them. Taught by Joe Battle, ISYSIS.

SBC15016 M 5/11 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

Introduction to Business Modeling

Are you a startup or existing entrepreneur wondering how to develop your business idea? Building and understanding your business model is a critical first step in the business planning process. Learn how to design and analyze your business model into a one-page document. With your one-page business model, you can develop your business plan more efficiently and effectively. Day sections taught by LaShon Harley, SBC; evening sections taught by Carl Baumann, Chapel Hill SCORE.

SBC W 12/17 1–3 p.m. OCC5
SBC15025 Th 1/8 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15017-BOL T 1/13 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 105
SBC15026 Th 1/22 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 104
SBC15018 M 1/26 1–3 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15019 Th 2/5 1–3 p.m. OCC 105
SBC15027 Th 2/12 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15020-BOL Th 2/19 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15028 Th 2/26 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 104
SBC15021-BOL W 3/4 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 105
SBC15029 Th 3/12 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15022 T 3/24 1–3 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15030 Th 3/26 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 104
SBC15023 M 4/6 1–3 p.m. OCC 105
SBC15031 Th 4/16 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15024-BOL W 4/22 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15032 Th 4/30 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 104
SBC15033 Th 5/14 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

Finance for Entrepreneurs Series

The Competitive Edge: Fundamentals of Grant Writing

This seminar focuses on how to research and identify potential funding sources, how to effectively write the key elements of a proposal, and how to submit applications to foundations and federal sources. Learn the techniques of preparing, writing, and winning grants from various funding agencies. Taught by Rick Leggett, Excellence By Choice Inc.

SBC15040 Th 1/29 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

Introduction to Budgets for Businesses

Learn the importance of business budgeting. Entrepreneurs learn how to create simple budgets, along with tips on how to manage cash flow and payroll. Taught by bankers.

SBC15050 T 3/3 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15051 TTh 4/2 1–3 p.m. OCC

Insuring Your Small Business

Is your business owner’s coverage adequate? Are health insurance costs endangering this valued employee benefit? Worker’s compensation woes? Should you look into the newer human resource practices or liability plans? Entrepreneurs get answers to insurance questions from veteran independent agent. Taught by George and/or Kimberly Stevens, George Stevens Insurance Agency Inc.

SBC15048 T 3/17 1–3 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15049 M 4/27 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

Establishing a Positive Banking Relationship

Entrepreneurs should establish a positive banking relationship. Learn the right questions to ask, the benefits of scheduling regular discussions, and how your banker can help you work through challenges. Taught by bankers.

SBC15047 W 2/25 1–3 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15046 W 3/18 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 106

Basic Bookkeeping for Business Owners

Do you know your products or services? Do numbers scare you? What about accounting terms such as cash versus accrual; debits and credits; depreciation, assets and liabilities; owner’s equity; or liquidity? In this course, get hands-on experience preparing a financial statement, including cash flow, income statements, and balance sheet. Taught by Jess McLamb, Roper Group.

SBC15039 M 3/30 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

How Accepting Credit Cards Will Help Grow Your Business

More transactions are being paid using credit cards. To be competitive, entrepreneurs may have to accept credit card payments. In this seminar, a local banker discusses card processing fees and the available options. Taught by bankers.

SBC15044 W 4/1 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 106
SBC15045 W 4/29 1–3 p.m. SBB 312

Options for Funding Your Business

This workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs offers an overview of financing options for new or existing businesses. Outside funding options, including commercial bank loans, SBA-backed loans, and sources of equity capital are covered. Taught by Alyssa Mako, The Women’s Business Center.

SBC15053-BOL W 4/8 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 314

Legal and Financial Issues and Opportunities for Social Enterprises

Entrepreneurs gain an understanding of the new and existing corporate forms, as well as the opportunities and limitations of earned income strategies for a social enterprise. Offered in partnership with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. Taught by Robert Saunders, Brooks Pierce.

SBC15052-BOL Th 4/23 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. CCCC

Financing Your Business the SBA Way

Learn about federal financing for starting, expanding, or purchasing a small business — and free resources available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA presents government lending options and shows you how to match loan programs to your needs, including inventory, working capital, and commercial real estate. Taught by Small Business Administration or local bankers.

SBC15042 W 4/29 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15043 W 5/13 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 105

Government Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

Certification Programs

What does it mean to be a “certified” minority- or woman-owned business? What is required to receive this designation, and how will it help you grow your business? Learn about the various government and private entities that provide certifications and have programs to support Minority/Women/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certifications. Discover how to use these certification programs to boost your business. Taught by Alyssa Mako, Women’s Business Center.

SBC15054-BOL W 5/6 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 314

Doing Business with the Federal Government

This training is an introduction for entrepreneurs desiring to do business with the federal government. Topics include levels of federal purchasing (how the federal government buys products; construction, engineering, and nonpersonal services); marketing a business to the federal government; socioeconomic small business programs; registering as a federal contractor; locating, identifying and responding to federal business opportunities; and resources available to assist federal contractors in North Carolina. Taught by North Carolina Military Business Center.

SBC15055-BOL T 2/3 1–4 p.m. SBB 312

Tax Implications

In this seminar, the NC Department of Revenue covers basic requirements to help NC entrepreneurs understand the laws and obligations necessary to be a compliant business. Participants become familiar with NC tax laws that are pertinent to businesses and the responsibilities of a business owner. The seminar covers the basics of tax compliance, including registering your business, withholding from employees, and sales and use tax requirements. A program for businesses that have fallen behind on sales and use, withholding, and other trust taxes is also covered. Taught by North Carolina Department of Revenue.

SBC15060-BOL Th 2/12 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 314

Finding and Understanding Federal Solicitations

A follow up to Doing Business with the Federal Government, this training focuses on identifying federal websites used by government agencies to advertise current opportunities for goods and services and long range procurement forecasts. The training also addresses how entrepreneurs can connect with prime contractors and lists Web-based resources to identify current federal contractors and potential teaming partners. Taught by North Carolina Military Business Center.

SBC15056-BOL T 3/3 1–3 p.m. SBB 314

Nonprofit Claim for Refund Description

The workshop focuses on the step-by-step process for completing the Nonprofit and Governmental Entity Claim for Refund of State and County Sales and Use Taxes. This hands-on workshop is intended to help social entrepreneurs better understand the proper procedure for requesting a sales and use tax refund as outlined in G. S. 15-164.14(b). Taught by North Carolina Department of Revenue.

SBC15059-BOL Th 3/26 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 105

Introduction to Doing Business with GSA

GSA Schedule contracts can be ideal for small businesses that sell products or services that government agencies buy using these contract vehicles. The GSA Schedule program reduces competition and allows vendors to avoid public bids and to close deals quickly, and GSA influences nearly 20 percent of the government’s total annual procurement dollars. Upon completion of this workshop, entrepreneurs will be able to respond to a GSA solicitation.

SBC15057-BOL T 4/7 1–3 p.m. SBB 312

Doing Business with GSA – Readiness Assessment Workshop

After completing Introduction to Doing Business with GSA, entrepreneurs review a GSA solicitation, requisite GSA training, and the GSA Vendor Toolbox. Students also begin work on their Readiness Assessment as part of this workshop. Taught by North Carolina Military Business Center.

SBC15058-BOL T 5/5 1–2:30 p.m. SBB 312

Legal Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

The Most Important Legal Questions Facing a Startup Business

Get answers to your startup questions about business formation, financing, contracts, employment issues, and leasing commercial property, as well as practical advice on best practices and minimizing business risks. Learn the advantages and costs of the different business entities, including sole proprietorship, partnership, C Corp, S Corp, LLC, and L3C. Taught by Donna Ray Berkelhammer or an attorney from NC LEAP.

SBC15064 Th 2/19 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

Key Contracts: Protecting Your Business from Legal Liability

One of the best ways to protect a business from legal liability is to have contracts in place, including confidentiality agreements, service contracts, sales contracts, etc. Learn tips for creating contracts, as well as what makes a contract valid. This seminar is a must for startup and existing business owners. Taught by Jonathan Seiglie.

SBC15062 T 3/17 6:30–8:30 p.m. OCC 106

Intellectual Property Law for Small Businesses

Have a logo? Slogan? Website? Original artwork? Secret recipe? Have you written a book? Developed a new product? Learn the crucial points of protecting a business’s or an organization’s valuable intangible assets through basic information about copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Taught by Donna Ray Berkelhammer or an attorney from NC LEAP.

SBC15061 Th 4/16 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

Legal and Financial Issues and Opportunities for Social Enterprises

Entrepreneurs gain an understanding of the new and existing corporate forms, as well as the opportunities and limitations of earned income strategies for a social enterprise. Offered in partnership with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. Taught by Robert Saunders, Brooks Pierce.

SBC15063-BOL Th 4/23 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. CCCC

Marketing for Entrepreneurs Series

Marketing Matters

In addition to reviewing the foundational components of marketing, the seminar also includes a discussion of metric-based marketing. Cost-effective promotional tactics are also covered. Taught by Yvette Bonaparte, Bonaparte Consulting.

SBC15066 W 3/25 6:30–8 p.m. SBB 312

Entrepreneurs Using NC LIVE for Business and Market Research

This hands-on seminar introduces valuable online business and market research tools available through NC LIVE. These FREE resources are available through all local public, community college, and university libraries throughout North Carolina. Taught by Durham Tech librarians.

SBC15065 W 4/8 6:30–8 p.m. Main Library (ERC)

Price It Right!

Determining the right price for a product or service can be one of the most difficult challenges small businesses face. This seminar presents various strategies entrepreneurs can use to determine the “right” price for their product or service. Taught by Yvette Bonaparte, Bonaparte Consulting.

SBC15067 Th 4/9 6–8 p.m. OCC 107

Selling in a Tough Economy – NFL Style

Join our resident sales guru to discover what NFL teams already know and practice, including effective sales processes and skills for today’s difficult times. Entrepreneurs learn how to uncover sometimes hidden opportunities and how businesses can benefit from this “newfound” sales knowledge. Taught by Joyce, Sales Partners Inc.

SBC15068 T 4/28 6–9 p.m. SBB 312

Social Media Marketing for Entrepreneurs Series

A Social Media Guide for the Rest of Us

Still avoiding social media? Trying it out but failing to see the value? Or simply wondering what the hype is about? Learn how your business may (or may not) benefit from using sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yelp. This course covers best practices and potential strategies, and looks at a few case studies. Bring your unanswered questions, as there will be plenty of time for Q&A. Taught by David Mooring, BurlapSky Inc.

SBC15069 M 4/6 6:30–9 p.m. OCC 105

Seven Tips to Online Marketing on a Tight Budget

SEstablishing an online presence for your business doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you’re just getting started or are ready to take your strategy to the next level, there are cost-effective solutions for you. Come find out what’s new in the world of online marketing, how you can take advantage of the changing landscape, and seven tips you can use immediately. Taught by David Mooring, BurlapSky Inc.

SBC15070 M 5/4 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312