Small Business Center Free Seminars

These two- 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.). We also encourage you to come early to secure your seat, since seating is limited.

Durham County seminars are offered in partnership with the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

Orange County seminars are offered in partnership with the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, the Hillsborough/Orange Chamber of Commerce and Chapel Hill SCORE.

Business Over Lunch (BOL) Seminars (11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m.) seminars are offered in partnership with the NC Women’s Business Center.

Next Level Growth Series sessions are offered in partnership with the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Small Business and Technology Development Center, and the NC Women’s Business Center.


Starting a Business Series

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.

SBC15072-BOL W 6/10 11:30 a.m.–1:30 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.

SBC15073L M 5/18 6:30–9 p.m. OCC 106
SBC15074-BOL Th 6/11 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15075-BOL W 8/5 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 106

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.

SBC15076-BOL W 5/27 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15077 W 6/15 6:30–9 p.m. OCC 106


Business Planning Basics for Entrepreneurs Series

Next-Level Growth Roundtable

What are the issues affecting small business? What are the benchmarks that businesses should be using? Is your business running efficiently and effectively? What books are recommended for entrepreneurs to read and/or reference? Where can you get assistance with issues specific to your company? Come and discuss the answers to these questions and more with other business owners and business advisors in a roundtable format. Seating is limited.

SBC15037 M 4/20 6:30–8:30 p.m. OCC 104

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

SBC15015 T 4/21 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, ISYSIS.

SBC15016 M 5/11 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

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.

SBC15024-BOL W 4/22 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15032 Th 4/30 6:30–9 p.m. OCC 104
SBC15033 Th 5/14 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15078-BOL W 5/20 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 106
SBC15079 Th 5/28 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15080 M 6/8 1–3 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15081 Th 8/13 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 106


Finance for Entrepreneurs Series

Insuring Your Small Business

Is your business owner’s coverage adequate? Are health insurance costs endangering this valued employee benefit? Worker’s compensation woes? Should you look into the newer human resource practices or liability plans? Entrepreneurs get answers to insurance questions from veteran independent agent. Taught by George and/or Kimberly Stevens, George Stevens Insurance Agency Inc.

SBC15049 M 4/27 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

How Accepting Credit Cards Will Help Grow Your Business

More transactions are being paid using credit cards. To be competitive, entrepreneurs may have to accept credit card payments. In this seminar, a local banker discusses card processing fees and the available options. Taught by bankers.

SBC15045 W 4/29 1–3 p.m. SBB 312

Introduction to Fund Development for Social Entrepreneurs

Social entrepreneurs cannot rely on grant dollars to finance a nonprofit. Every nonprofit should have a good fund development plan to diversify and increase organizational funding sources. Participants gain an understanding of the need for a diversified fund development plan to create and sustain a nonprofit (information can be beneficial to for profit businesses also). Taught by Rick Leggett, Excellence By Choice, Inc.

SBC15082 T 5/19 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

Financing Your Business the SBA Way

Learn about federal financing for starting, expanding, or purchasing a small business — and free resources available from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA presents government lending options and shows you how to match loan programs to your needs, including inventory, working capital, and commercial real estate. Taught by Small Business Administration or local bankers.

SBC15042 W 4/29 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15043 W 5/13 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 105

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 Alyssa Mako, The Women’s Business Center.

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


Government Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

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/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certifications. Discover how to use these certification programs to boost your business. Taught by Alyssa Mako, Women’s Business Center.

SBC15054-BOL W 5/6 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 314

Doing Business with the Federal Government

This training is an introduction for entrepreneurs desiring to do business with the federal government. Topics trained include: levels of federal purchasing - how the federal government buys products, construction, engineering and non-personal services; marketing a business to the federal government; socio-economic small business programs; registering as a federal contractor; locating, identifying and responding to federal business opportunities; and resources available to assist federal contractors in North Carolina. Taught by Dennis Lewis, North Carolina Military Business Center

SBC15084-BOL T 6/2 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

Introduction to Doing Business with GSA

GSA Schedule contracts can be ideal for small businesses that sell products or services that government agencies buy using these contract vehicles. The Schedules program reduces competition and allows vendors to avoid public bids and to close deals quickly, and GSA influences nearly 20 percent of the government's total annual procurement dollars. Upon completion of this workshop, entrepreneurs will be able to respond to a GSA solicitation. Taught by Dennis Lewis, North Carolina Military Business Center.

SBC15085-BOL T 7/7 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

Doing Business with GSA – Readiness Assessment Workshop

After completing Introduction to Doing Business with GSA, entrepreneurs review a GSA solicitation, requisite GSA training, and the GSA Vendor Toolbox. Students also begin work on their Readiness Assessment as part of this workshop. Taught by North Carolina Military Business Center.

SBC15058-BOL T 5/5 1–2:30 p.m. SBB 312
SBC15086-BOL T 8/4 1–2:30 p.m. SBB 312


Legal Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

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 or an attorney from NC LEAP.

SBC15064 Th 4/23 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

Legal and Financial Issues and Opportunities for Social Enterprises

Entrepreneurs gain an understanding of the new and existing corporate forms, as well as the opportunities and limitations of earned income strategies for a social enterprise. Offered in partnership with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce. Taught by Robert Saunders, Brooks Pierce.

SBC15063-BOL T 5/5 6:30 a.m.–9 p.m. CCCC


Marketing for Entrepreneurs Series

Selling in a Tough Economy – NFL Style

Join our resident sales guru to discover what NFL teams already know and practice, including effective sales processes and skills for today’s difficult times. Entrepreneurs learn how to uncover sometimes hidden opportunities and how businesses can benefit from this “newfound” sales knowledge. Taught by Joyce, Sales Partners Inc.

SBC15068 T 4/28 6–9 p.m. SBB 312


Social Media Marketing for Entrepreneurs Series

Seven Tips to Online Marketing on a Tight Budget

SEstablishing an online presence for your business doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you’re just getting started or are ready to take your strategy to the next level, there are cost-effective solutions for you. Come find out what’s new in the world of online marketing, how you can take advantage of the changing landscape, and seven tips you can use immediately. Taught by David Mooring, BurlapSky Inc.

SBC15070 M 5/4 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312