Incubator gets funding boost


The Scotland County Economic Development Corporation was awarded a $85,000 grant to assist in programs and activities at the planned Small Business Innovation Center.

The money comes from the North Carolina Rural Center, county officials said Thursday.

“We are thankful that the North Carolina Rural Center awarded this funding that will allow for the Scotland County Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with Richmond Community College to assist with training programs for small businesses and start-ups in Scotland County,” said Chair of the development corporation Joyce McDow. “It also validates our continued commitment to partnership to encourage job growth and investment in Scotland County.”

With this grant funding, the development corporation will offer programs and training to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and start-ups in Scotland County as well as the surrounding region.

The initial funding for the project comes from an $800,000 contribution from the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration and from a $200,000 grant received by the development corporation from the Golden Leaf Foundation earlier this year.

Laurinburg Mayor Tommy Parker said the project was the “key to the county being job ready.”

“This endeavor will allow local entrepreneurs to bring ideas to fruition and create jobs within our community,” said Parker who also serves as vice-chair of the Scotland County Economic Development Corporation.

As part of the Rural Center grant, Richmond Community College is expected to provide an educational component designed to promote entrepreneurship within the community.

“RCC’s primary focus as a part of the $85,000 grant will be to coordinate instructional training and seminars developing the SBIC facility as a hub of instruction and workforce credentialing, both of which are desperately needed in Scotland County.” said Steve Smith, vice-president of Workforce and Economic Development at Richmond Community College.

Officials said that participating businesses would locate their operation in the incubator building to develop and grow their businesses for a period of three to five years. At some point the businesses would be a in a position to expand to a larger building, expand their workforce, and move into more or less a full-scale operation.

Another potential category of small businesses that would likely utilize the incubator would be those that manufacture goods or who are contractors for nearby military bases.

“We truly appreciate the NC Rural Center and their desire to partner with us in our efforts to create an environment for success for small business, entrepreneurs and small businesses. The programs and services are designed to not only assist business but also highlights our long-term, multi-faceted and strategic approach to bringing jobs to our community,” said Greg Icard President of the SCEDC.