Providing Business Opportunities for Underserved Populations
Fayetteville State University, in partnership with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF), announces Forward Cape Fear, a program providing emerging entrepreneurs and existing small business owners with significantly improved access to funding through training and mentorship support programs.
The program will focus on underrepresented populations in Bladen, Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Robeson, and Sampson counties in North Carolina. Participants will be required to complete coursework on key business success factors and core competencies shown to be critical for entrepreneurial success and are required to perform market tests to confirm viability of their proposed business models.
After successful completion of the program through pre-screened and pre-qualified cohorts, entrepreneurs will be eligible for consideration of start-up microloans in the amount of $500 - $2,500 from CSBDF. Existing business owners seeking funding to expand operations or improve profitability can gain access to pre-loan guidance, consultations tailored to their specific business needs, and be recipients of larger working capital loans averaging $25,000 each.
Heading the program is FSU alumnus and director, Malika Mercer. Ms. Mercer returns to Fayetteville State University from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, having begun her career in higher education in the College of Business and Economics in 2005, later serving in the College of Arts and Sciences.
"It means so much to return 'home' to serve the institution and community that has played a pivotal role in my growth, both academically and professionally. I am deeply appreciative to Interim Provost Dr. Pamela Jackson and Interim Dean Dr. J. Lee Brown, for entrusting me with this opportunity and look forward to collaborating with campus and community constituents to raise awareness of economic development and entrepreneurial opportunities for underrepresented populations."
For more information on the program and the Fayetteville State University EDA University Center, please visit https://www.uncfsu.edu/academics/colleges-schools-and-departments/college-of-business-and-economics/outreach-centers/eda-university-center.
Malika Mercer, FSU EDA University Center Director