STEP for Small Business

The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, Inc. (Rural Center) was successful in securing $250,000 in USDA-RCDI grant funds to support the STEP for Small Business project.  The Rural Center selected the Town of Siler City as one of eight towns in the initiative largely because of the success of our NC STEP program (2010-2013).  The goal of this project is to build the capacity in our community to support and nurture small businesses and entrepreneurs.  To accomplish the goal of boosting the economy in our town, the Rural Center partnered with the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (CRE).   CRE (a national nonprofit) assisted with the training and served as an advisor to the Rural Center community coach (Chilton Rogers).  The program is now providing a $100,000 loan pool to our community to be used to support small business creation and expansion. The loan pool will be administered by the Rural Center. 


This initiative focuses on 3 essential elements for success:

  • Demographically renew yourself.  The loss of innovation talent affects the economic future of the community as well as its civic and social leadership.  Counteract the trends of an aging population and fewer youth
  • Increase opportunities by fostering entrepreneurship and small business development
  • Quality of life and place making.  Talented people gravitate to great places to live.


Economic Development in Siler City:

  • Siler City has a vision for the future and is working to implement it.
  • We have identified a strategy for development that builds on its unique assets
  • We are acting on that strategy to ensure that the community is succeeding economically
  • Siler City’s participation in the STEP for Small Business initiative reflects our commitment to embrace this economic development responsibility and to help put us on a pathway to prosperity.


Why do we focus on Entrepreneurship:

  • With healthy economic growth comes a greater capacity to support public services, education and quality of life investments that are important to create a more prosperous community.
  • Entrepreneurs are at the heart of all economic development – they recognize opportunities and pull together the assets and resources needed to create new economic activity.
  • Based on the CRE’s extensive field experience across rural North America, this process helps our community discover our unique road to greater prosperity through supporting and growing entrepreneurial talent.