Small Business Center Free Seminars

These 90 minutes 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.). Registration will open no later than four weeks prior to each seminar or workshop. We also encourage you to come early to secure your seat, since seating is limited.


Webinars and Online Courses

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 Melissa Terrell, Women’s Business Center.

SBC15135-BOL T 10/27 11:30 a.m. –1:30 p.m. Webinar


Entrepreneurs Using NC LIVE for Business and Market Research

This 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 Local Librarian.

SBC15136-BOL M 11/16 11:30 a.m. –1:30 p.m. Webinar


HP LIFE Online Entrepreneurship Training

HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE) is a global program that offers aspiring entrepreneurs and small business-owners valuable business skills. HP LIFE offers participants a path to realizing their business dreams. This program is self-paced, making it possible for more aspiring entrepreneurs to participate. All you have to do is register to start. Offered by The NC Small Business Center Network in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). Taught by Various Speakers.

SBC15138-BOL start anytime through 12/31 Online


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, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certifications. Discover how to use these certification programs to boost your business. Taught by Briles Johnson, Women’s Business Center.

SBC15137-BOL W 12/9 11:30 a.m. –1:30 p.m. Webinar


Starting a Business Series

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..

SBC15094 T 9/22 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

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..

SBC15095-BOL W 9/9 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 314

How to Start a Home-Based Business

Many people find working at home the 'ideal arrangement' and decide to set up businesses in their homes. Learn the requirements for getting started with a home-based business, including finding your niche, legal requirements, and developing a business plan. Taught by Melissa Terrell, Women’s Business Center..

SBC15096-BOL W 10/14 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312

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. .

SBC15097-BOL T 9/15 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

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. Taught by LaShon Harley, Durham Tech’s Small Business Center..

SBC15098 M 11/9 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC

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. Taught by LaShon Harley, Durham Tech’s Small Business Center..

SBC15099 M 10/26 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312


Business Planning Basics for Entrepreneurs Series

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.

SBC15081 Th 8/13 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 106

Business Plans for Food Business Owners

Running a successfully sustainable food business requires business planning. The strategies developed during the business planning become the basis for your business plan. Learn the sections of the business plan while gaining an understanding of its importance to you, your business and funding sources. Taught by LaShon Harley, Durham Tech’s Small Business Center..

SBC15100 M 8/17 6:30 –8:30 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..

SBC15101 T 10/27 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, Success 360i..

SBC15102 T 12/1 6:30 –8 p.m. OCC 203

Introduction to Business Modeling

Are you a startup or existing entrepreneur wondering how you should 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..

SBC15103-BOL W 9/30 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15104 Th 10/22 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

Supercharged Goal-Settings for Entrepreneurs

Come learn the four most important characteristics necessary for success, how to effectively motivate yourself, and keep the motivation going. Participants will developed their own personal, written, five-year plan of goals to accomplish, when to accomplish them by, and the steps to achieve them. Taught by Warren Greshes, Speaking of Success..

SBC15105 T 10/6 1 –4 p.m. SBB 312


Exporting for Entrepreneurs Series

Introduction to Exporting for the Food Business Owner

Are you ready to go global with your food product? Is there an international market for your food products? Learn the fundamentals of how to get started in international trade to export your food product abroad. Taught by Alex Viva, Small Business Technology Development Center..

SBC15106 M 11/23 6:30 –8:30 p.m. SBB 312

Introduction to Exporting

Are you ready to go global? Is there an international market for your products or services? Learn the fundamentals of on how to get started in international trade to export your products or services abroad. Taught by Alex Viva, Small Business Technology Development Center..

SBC15107-BOL Th 12/3 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC


Finance for Entrepreneurs Series

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 Bookkeeping..

SBC15108 T 11/3 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

Building Your Pro Form Statements Workshop for Your Food Business

During this hands-on workshop, participants will develop projected balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flows for their food business. Participants should have a working knowledge about these financial statements. Participants should also have basic computer and internet skills. Taught by Allen Feinwick and John Wyman, Chapel Hill SCORE..

SBC15109 M 11/2 6:30 –8:30 p.m. SBB 310

The Competitive Edge: Fundamentals of Grant Writing–Level 1

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..

SBC15110 M 10/5 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

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, Success 360i..

SBC15111 T 12/8 6:30 –8 p.m. SBB 312

Financial Aspects of Your Food Business

You have determined your food product and how you want to take it to market. Now you need the money. Entrepreneurs learn basic financial terminology and financial strategies for their food business. Taught by Allen Feinwick, Chapel Hill SCORE..

SBC15112 M 10/19 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 314

Grant Research Workshop for Entrepreneurs

Have you ever wondered How can I find grants for my business? This hands-on workshop will provide information on how to search and identify grants for your business and to navigate the grant seeking process. Participants should have basic computer and Internet skills. Taught by Rick Leggett, Excellence By Choice Inc..

SBC15113 M 10/12 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 314

Introduction to Budgets for Produce Business

Learn the importance of business budgeting for your crop planting and farm business. Entrepreneurs learn how to create simple budgets and important categories to include in the budget along with tips on how to manage cash flow and payroll. Taught by Tony Kleese, Earthwise Organics. .

SBC15114 T 10/13 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

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. .

SBC15097 T 9/15 6:30 –9 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 Melissa Terrell, The Women’s Business Center..

SBC15083-BOL W 7/22 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15115-BOL W 11/11 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312

Understanding Your Credit Report to Finance Your Business

Now you have a copy of your credit report and wonder what it says. Learn what the information says about you, how to manage this information, and how to use it to determine financing options for your business. Taught by Greg Frank, Financial Fitness Center. .

SBC15116 M 9/28 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312


Government Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

Introduction to Doing Business with the Federal Government and Department of Defense for Food Business Industry

Wonder how the government buys your food product? What must you do to get into this market? Learn how products get into these government markets with an overview of the process and business requirements. Taught by Boyce Haywood, North Carolina Military Business Center. .

SBC15117-BOL T 11/17 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312


Legal Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

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 or an organization’s valuable intangible assets through basic information about copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Taught by Donna Ray Berkelhammer, The Legal Direction..

SBC15119 Th 10/15 6:30 –8:30 p.m. SBB 312

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, The Legal Direction..

SBC15120 Th 9/17 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

Social Media Law for Small Businesses/h3>

Social media is being used more and more as part of marketing strategies for businesses and nonprofits. Learn the growing legal issues surrounding social media: trademark and copyright issues, employee use of social media, and protecting your business/nonprofit from potential lawsuits and possible regulatory violations when using social media. Taught by Donna Ray Berkelhammer, The Legal Direction. .

SBC15121 Th 11/19 6:30 –8 p.m. SBB 312


Logistics for Entrepreneurs Series

Introduction to Good Manufacturing Practices

Whether manufacturing your product at home or in a facility, good manufacturing practices helps business owners to become more efficient while staying within rules and regulations. This seminar will provide a very basic general overview introducing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) that apply to food, beverage, and natural product companies. Taught by Sarah Schober, North Carolina Bio Network..

SBC15122 F 10/2 9 a.m. –noon OCC


Marketing for Entrepreneurs Series

Introduction to Marketing Plan for Food Business Owners

You need to get your food product to the market to get more customers and wonder how you should do it. Learn the basic parts of a marketing plan to develop strategies to increase revenue and gain potentially higher profits. Taught by Yvette Bonaparte, Bonaparte Consulting LLC..

SBC15123 Th 8/20 6:30 –8:30 p.m. SBB 312

Introduction to USDA Audits: GAP Certification

Food growers can verify their production and handling practices are in accordance with recommended safety guidelines through Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification. Learn basic information about GAP certification and an overview of the USDA GAP Audit process. Taught by Vincent Wyche, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

SBC15118-BOL M 12/7 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312

Marketing Your Business

Who are your customers? How will potential customers find your product? How should you price your product? Learn the basics of marketing (product, pricing, placement and promotion) along with an overview on customer development and marketing strategies. Taught by Alecia Lawrence..

SBC15124 Th 10/8 6:30 –8:30 p.m. SBB 312

Pitch Perfect Your Business

What are you saying about your business? Would you like to close more deals or get more customers? This simulation workshop will provide basic information on presentations then participants will pitch their business and receive instant feedback to make their pitch “perfect”. Participants should also have basic computer, Internet, and Presentation software skills. Taught by Jim Joyce, Sales Training, Inc..

SBC15125 M 11/16 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

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, LLC..

SBC15126 Th 10/29 6:30 –8 p.m. SBB 312


Social Media Marketing for Entrepreneurs Series

Building an Online Strategy that Works for Food Business Owners

Come learn what it takes to use your website, blog, email, and social media to generate leads and grow your business. You’ll learn what your business should be doing online, and how to develop and execute a strategy that works. Taught by David Mooring, BurlapSky, Inc..

SBC15127 M 8/31 6:30 –8:30 p.m. SBB 312

Facebook Made Easy

Every business should have a Facebook page! Learn how to use your page to brand your business and engage your customers. This hands-on workshop will teach you the following:

  • How to start a page from scratch
  • How to schedule messages that save you time
  • How to automate your marketing and keep people on your page

Taught by Chisa D. Pennix-Brown, Lady Bizness, Inc..

SBC15128 F 9/11 10 a.m. –noon OCC

More with Facebook for Food Business Owners

Continuing from the information provided at the Facebook Made Easy seminar, food business owners will receive extra tips on how Facebook can help their business. Taught by Chisa D. Pennix-Brown, Lady Bizness, Inc..

SBC15129 F 9/11 12:15 –1 p.m. OCC

How to Boost Your Website Traffic (and Get More Customers)

Are you getting enough visitors to your website? Are those visitors becoming customers? Come learn strategies on how to get more visitors to your website and then turn them into new and repeating customers. Taught by David Mooring, BurlapSky, Inc..

SBC15130 M 11/30 6:30 –8:30 p.m. OCC

Instragram Made Easy

Instagram is the “it” thing in social media. Find out how your business can benefit from this platform and grow sales online. This hands-on workshop will teach you the following:

  • How to start an Instagram page for your business
  • How to gain followers and keep them engaged daily
  • How to integrate Instagram into your current marketing plan
  • Apps that can be used to make your photos stand out & save you time

Taught by Chisa D. Pennix-Brown, Lady Bizness, Inc..

SBC15131 F 11/13 10 a.m. –noon OCC

More with Instagram for Food Business Owners

Continuing from the information provided at the Instagram Made Easy seminar, food business owners will receive extra tips on how Instagram can help their business. Taught by Chisa D. Pennix-Brown, Lady Bizness, Inc..

SBC15132 F 11/13 12:15 –1 p.m. OCC

Twitter Made Easy

Twitter is a great resource and marketing tool for small businesses that know how to use its power. This hands-on workshop will teach you the following:

  • How to start a page from scratch with an enhanced profile
  • How to use hashtags to garner attention for your brand
  • How to create lists and engage influencers
  • How to gain new followers with proven applications

Taught by Chisa D. Pennix-Brown, Lady Bizness, Inc..

SBC15133 F 10/9 10 a.m. –noon OCC

More with Twitter for Food Business Owners

Continuing from the information provided at the Twitter Made Easy seminar, food business owners will receive extra tips on how Twitter can help their business. Taught by Chisa D. Pennix-Brown, Lady Bizness, Inc..

SBC15134 F 10/9 12:15 –1 p.m. OCC