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Free Entrepreneurial 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.


HP LIFE Online Entrepreneurship Training: July 1 – December 31, 2014

HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE) is a global program that offers aspiring entrepreneurs and small business-owners valuable business skills. HP LIFE offers participants a path to realizing their business dreams. The NC Small Business Center Network, in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE), is pleased to offer this innovative program to NC entrepreneurs and small business owners free of charge! This program is self-paced, making it possible for more aspiring entrepreneurs to participate. All you have to do is register to start.


Federal and Department of Defense Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

Introduction to Federal and Department of Defense Cost Estimating Techniques

At the federal/Department of Defense level, there are three basic purchasing groups from whom the Feds buy: 1) manufactured goods (something someone can touch, such as blankets, cars, food, etc., 2) professional services (labor such as program management, financial services, research & development, landscaping, janitorial, food services, etc., and 3) A/E – general construction services. Each category has different cost elements. If you don't know of them or their costs, how can you calculate a profit? This seminar reviews cost elements for each of the three categories and provides examples of how to calculate costs and rates. You have to know your cost before you can calculate your profit! It is as simple as that...not really! Bill Greuling, NC Military Business Center.

Canceled W 8/13 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 110 Feel free to bring your lunch.

Tax Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

New and Improved! Employment Tax and Business Expenses

Entrepreneurs learn about the employment tax filing and payment requirements for the various business entities (sole proprietors, partnerships, and corporations). This seminar also discusses various business expenses that may be deducted in the course of the entrepreneur’s business.

Participants receive a packet of information for each session attended at no cost. The following publications are covered:

  • Publication 535, Business Expenses
  • Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home
  • Publication 15, Employer’s Tax Guide (Circular E)
  • Publication 1518, Tax Calendar for SB/SE
  • PPublication 4591, Small Business Federal Tax Responsibilities
  • Publication 4667, IRS Tax Information for SB/SE Taxpayers
    • 41122 T 7/29 6 –9 p.m. OCC 110

      Starting a Business Series

      10 Steps to Starting Your Own Business

      Starting your own business may seem like a daunting task, but it’s not too hard if you take it step by step. Learn the steps you need to take to make your dream become a reality. Our consultant has trained hundreds of entrepreneurs across the state in starting, marketing, and managing a business. Taught by Jess McLamb, Roper Bookkeeping.

      43238 T 9/23 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

      BOL: 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 Alyssa Mako, Women’s Business Center.

      43164 W 9/10 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. WBC

      The Best Small Business to Start Right Now

      What would be the best small business for you to start right now? Focus on three areas: how to create a business idea that fits you, “hot” businesses that will grow in coming years, and five easy-to-use steps to starting a business. Learn about more than 30 types of businesses with growth potential. Taught by Mike Collins, Perfect Workday Inc.

      43165 M 9/22 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

      Manage Your Debt and Credit Prior to Starting Your Business

      Start or grow your business in strong financial shape by learning how to obtain, review, and understand your personal credit report; how to significantly increase your credit score in as little as 90 days; how to rapidly reduce or eliminate debt; and how to successfully negotiate with creditors to lower your interest rates. Leave ready to play the credit game to win. Taught by Greg Frank, Financial Fitness Center.

      43166 M 9/8 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312
      43167 T 11/11 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 106

      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.

      43245 M 9/29 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 203
      43246 Th 10/9 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
      43247 W 11/5 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 203
      43248 T 12/16 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312

      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.

      43249 W 9/17 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
      43250 M 10/27 6:30 –9 p.m. OCC 203
      43251 M 11/24 6:30 –9 p.m. SBB 312
      43252 Th 12/4 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. OCC 203

      Business Planning Basics for Entrepreneurs Series

      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.

      43168 Th 10/30 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..

      43169 M 10/13 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312
      43282 M 11/3 6:30–8:30 p.m. OCC 203

      Next-Level Growth

      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.

      43253 M 9/22 6:30–8:30 p.m. OCC 203
      43254 W 10/29 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312
      43255 M 12/1 6:30–8:30 p.m. OCC 312

      Small Business Resources

      Starting a business can be confusing, challenging, and frustrating. Whether your business is new or established — or if you’re just cultivating the seed of a great idea, success depends on getting the assistance you need, when you need it. Learn about programs and resources available to current and future small business owners. Taught by Alyssa Mako, Women’s Business Center.

      43170 W 10/8 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312

      Finance for Entrepreneurs Series

      Basic Bookkeeping for Business Owners

      Do you know your products or services? Do numbers scare you? What about accounting terms such as cash versus accrual; debits and credits; depreciation, assets and liabilities; owner’s equity; or liquidity? In this course, get hands-on experience preparing a financial statement, including cash flow, income statements, and balance sheet. Taught by Jess McLamb, Roper Group.

      43240 T 10/21 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

      The Competitive Edge: Fundamentals of Grant Writing – Level 1

      This seminar focuses on how to research and identify potential funding sources, how to effectively write the key elements of a proposal, and how to submit applications to foundations and federal sources. Learn the techniques of preparing, writing, and winning grants from various funding agencies. Taught by Rick Leggett, Excellence By Choice Inc.

      43171 Th 9/11 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

      Entrepreneurs Getting an Understanding of Their Financial Statements

      So you have your accountant or accounting software program generate your financial statements, but what do they mean? This seminar helps entrepreneurs understand balance sheets, income or profit/loss statements, and statements of cash flows, as well as the secrets they may hold to your business’s success. Taught by Joe Battle, ISYSIS Inc.

      43172 M 12/8 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

      Introduction to Fund Development for Social Entrepreneurs

      Social entrepreneurs cannot rely solely 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. Taught by Rick Leggett, Excellence By Choice Inc.

      43174 T 10/14 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

      Options for Funding Your Business

      This workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs offers an overview of financing options for new or existing business. 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.

      43175 W 11/12 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. WBC

      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.

      43176 W 12/10 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. WBC

      Legal Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

      Intellectual Property Law for Small Businesses

      Have a logo? Slogan? Website? Original artwork? Secret recipe? Have you written a book? Developed a new product? Learn the crucial points of protecting a business’s or an organization’s valuable intangible assets through basic information about copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Taught by Donna Ray Berkelhammer, Sands, Anderson, PC, or an attorney from NC LEAP..

      43181 Th 11/20 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

      Key Contracts: Protecting Your Business from Legal Liability

      One of the best ways to protect a business from legal liability is to have contracts in place, including confidentiality agreements, service contracts, sales contracts, etc. Learn tips for creating contracts, as well as what makes a contract valid. This seminar is a must for startup and existing business owners. Taught by Jonathan Seiglie, Wallace Pierce Law.

      43182 T 10/28 6:30–8:30 p.m. OCC 106

      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, Sands, Anderson, PC, or an attorney from NC LEAP.

      43183 Th 9/18 6:30–9 p.m. OCC 203
      43241 Th 10/16 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

      Social Media Law for Small Businesses

      Social media is being used more and more as part of marketing strategies for businesses and nonprofits. Learn the growing legal issues surrounding social media: trademark and copyright issues, employee use of social media, and protecting your business/nonprofit from potential lawsuits and possible regulatory violations when using social media. Taught by Donna Ray Berkelhammer of Sands, Anderson, PC, or an attorney from NC LEAP.

      43184 Th 12/11 6:30–8 p.m. SBB 312

      Marketing for Entrepreneurs Series

      A Brand Called You

      Building, managing, and protecting your personal brand are as important for individuals as they are for large corporations or celebrities. And having it all under control is vital to position yourself and your business for success. Through discussions and short exercises, explore what you want your personal brand to be and how to create it. Taught by Yvette Bonaparte, Bonaparte Consulting Inc.

      43185 Th 10/23 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

      Dynamite Marketing on a Firecracker Budget

      Need inexpensive, easy-to-use ideas for growing your business? This seminar provides 50 ways to grab new customers, reinforce relationships with current customers, and pique the interest of customers you don’t even know about to create a low-cost marketing plan. Taught by Mike Collins, The Perfect Workday Company.

      43186 T 11/4 6:30–9 p.m. SBB 312

      Entrepreneurs Using NC LIVE for Business and Market Research

      This hands-on seminar introduces valuable online business and market research tools available through NC LIVE. These FREE resources are available through all local public, community college, and university libraries throughout North Carolina. Taught by Durham Tech librarians.

      43187 W 11/5 6:30–8 p.m. Main Library, ERC

      Marketing Beyond the Four P’s

      Familiar with the four P’s of marketing: product, price, promotion, and place? Go beyond these traditional P’s by discussing the three additional P’s that are critically important to marketing your business — people (prospects and customers), position (the view your customer holds of you), and playback (feedback your customer provides to you). Taught by Yvette Bonaparte, Bonaparte Consulting Inc.

      43188 Th 11/13 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

      Social Media Marketing for Entrepreneurs Series

      A Social Media Guide for the Rest of Us

      Still avoiding social media? Trying it out but failing to see the value? Or simply wondering what the hype is about? Learn how your business may (or may not) benefit from using sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yelp. We’ll cover best practices and potential strategies, and we’ll look at a few case studies. Bring your unanswered questions; we’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A! Taught by David Mooring, BurlapSky Inc.

      43189 W 9/24 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. SBB 312

      Rules for Online Branding

      So you think you have the perfect company name and logo, and now you are ready to implement your online marketing strategy, right? Successful online branding requires more than these two items. Entrepreneurs learn rules to successfully brand a business online. Taught by David Mooring, BurlapSky Inc.

      43190 M 11/17 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312

      Seven Tips to Online Marketing on a Tight Budget

      Establishing 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.

      43191 M 10/20 6:30–9 p.m. OCC 203

      Technology Issues for Entrepreneurs Series

      Small Business Cybersecurity

      Hackers continue to disrupt smaller businesses that lack the knowledge and resources for executing a strong security program. This workshop helps small business owners develop a customized cybersecurity program. After discovering how to identify and manage cybersecurity risks when selecting security procedures that align with your company’s business standards, you can then develop the training your employees need on cybersecurity best practices. Taught by Bianca Montes Jones, justotech.

      43284 W 10/22 6:30–8:30 p.m. SBB 312
      43285 W 11/19 6:30–8:30 p.m. OCC 203