NC Small Business Coalition Annual Report

Building a More Prosperous and Equitable Small Business Ecosystem

The NC Small Business Coalition represents a diverse and growing consortium of small business owners, resource providers, nonprofits, local governments, chambers of commerce, and many more entrepreneurship advocates and champions across the state. Since launching in March 2021, the coalition has grown to represent over 560 members across 88 of North Carolina’s 100 counties; including 260 entrepreneurs and small business owners who have signed on to this effort.

The mission of the NC Small Business Coalition centers on advancing a bipartisan small business policy agenda (North Carolina’s New Small Business Plan) informed by research and the experiences of North Carolina’s entrepreneurs. These advocacy efforts aim to collectively facilitate a more equitable and sustainable small business ecosystem for North Carolina’s current and future business owners. With the support of the NC Small Business Coalition, along with the Small Business Policy Task Force in 2021 and the Small Business Advisory Council in 2022, the Rural Counts team secured several legislative achievements to help build a more prosperous and equitable small business ecosystem in North Carolina.

These accomplishments include:

  • A $2.8 million recurring state appropriation to expand the capacity and sustainability of the North Carolina Community College System Small Business Center Network (SBCN). The SBCN supports the development of new businesses and the expansion of existing businesses by providing training, counseling, and other resources.
  • $202 million in federal funding to the NC Rural Center to support small businesses through the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). This funding will allow the Rural Center to partner with community banks, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and equity fund managers directly to enhance small businesses’ ability to access the capital they need to grow their business.
  • $5 million in funding to the NC Rural Center for a capacity-building grants program for CDFIs across North Carolina. This program will allow North Carolina’s CDFIs to expand their operations and reach more entrepreneurs.
  • $3 million in nonrecurring funding for the One North Carolina Small Business Program with an additional $2 million recurring investment. This program provides matching grant funds to small businesses applying for and leveraging federal Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant programs.
  • The introduction of a Small Business Truth in Financing bill. This legislation would require non-bank commercial lenders to disclose the financing costs of their products by using standard language to disclose terms, fees, and conditions, including annual percentage rate (APR). This will ensure small business owners looking to establish or grow their businesses can easily understand costs and make apples-to-apples comparisons between financing offers.
  • While introduced, the Truth in Financing Act (TIFA) failed to see a vote in the 2022 session. This remains one of our major advocacy priorities heading into the 2023 legislative session. We look forward to counting on your support to see this through to passage.
  • And More…(read our 2022 and 2021 legislative session recaps)

The coalition’s work continues to focus on emboldening entrepreneurs and ensuring their voices and experiences are at the center of North Carolina’s changing small-business ecosystem. As a part of the coalition, members have the opportunity to engage with their policymakers, participate in exploratory research that will inform policy development and positioning, and take part in advocacy and capacity-building training.

If you consider yourself an advocate of small business, please add your voice to this effort!

© 2021 NC Rural Center   |   2020 Impact Report