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Following are Strategic Partners and Resources
Starting a Business

Small Business Assistance

Workforce Resources

Other Resources

Description of Services

Business Link North Carolina can connect you to services provided by state-supported agencies, many of which are free. Call BLNC toll-free, 1-800-228-8443, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, to talk with one of our business consultants

  • N.C. Department of Commerce. The Commerce Department is the state's lead economic development agency. The department's Business Service Center provides business consulting and referral services for businesses and industries of all sizes. The toll-free number is 1-800-228-8443, or you may call 919-715-2864, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. The Department Web site includes special sections on starting your business, supporting your business, locating your business, international business services, foreign trade and direct investment, workforce services, tourism services, film production, sports development, and the wine industry. The section on Incentives provides information about discretionary, performance-based grants; tax credits; and other cost-saving programs.
  • N.C. Community College System. North Carolina's extensive community college system is the second-largest in the country. Fifty-eight campuses across the state offer a wide range of business services and courses. Of particular interest are the Small Business Center Network, which supports development of new businesses and growth of existing businesses; and the system's business support services and customized training program.
  • Small Business & Technology Development Center. The SBTDC is North Carolina's business and technology extension service, providing direct one-on-one management counseling on issues such as financing, marketing, human resources, operations, business planning, and feasibility assessment. The center also provides individualized research-based products around change management, strategic performance, and leadership development; help accessing and acquiring government contracts; and assistance in commercializing new technologies and accessing innovation research funding. The SBTDC is administered by N.C. State University on behalf of the UNC System, and operated in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
  • Employment Security Commission of North Carolina. The ESC provides valuable services both for employers and for job seekers. Business services include assistance with employee recruitment, unemployment insurance issues and Trade Adjustment Assistance, quarterly tax and wage reports and labor market statistics.
  • N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. The N.C. Department of Agriculture has extensive regulatory and business-development responsibilities related to crops and livestock, as well as state, national and international marketing of North Carolina products. The department's Web site includes sections devoted to farmer services, business services, marketing, and grower programs.
  • N.C. Department of Revenue. The Revenue Department administers the state's tax laws and collects the taxes, providing services through Raleigh and community offices throughout the state. The department's Web site addresses taxes, tax laws and information of interest to employers. The Web site also has sections on electronic services available and on-line tax forms.
  • N.C. Department of the Secretary of State. For tax questions, this agency can help. The department's corporation’s division is responsible for the examination, custody and maintenance of the legal documents filed by more than 400,000 corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies. The department's trademarks section registers and renews trademarks and service marks in North Carolina.
  • N.C. Community Development Initiative. The North Carolina Community Development Initiative is dedicated to increasing assets and creating wealth for communities and individuals in low-resource communities. Programs include Initiative capital loans, grants, and technical assistance.
  • N.C. Biotechnology Center. The Center supports biotechnology research, business and education statewide. Business services include workforce development programs, business & technology development, and business loans. The center, headquartered in Research Triangle Park, was the world's first government-sponsored organization dedicated to developing the biotechnology industry.
  • N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development. The N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development is a statewide nonprofit organization representing the interest of underdeveloped and underutilized sectors of the state's economic base. The Institute seeks to create wealth and build the asset base among low-wealth sectors of the population. Programs include the Minority Business Enterprise Center, providing finance management and access to capital; strategic business consulting; procurement opportunities; and the Women's Business Center of North Carolina, which provides tools and services to help women entrepreneurs succeed.
  • N.C. Rural Economic Development Center. The Rural Economic Development Center develops, promotes, and implements sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. The center serves the state's 85 rural counties, with a special focus on individuals with low to moderate incomes and communities with limited resources. Programs address areas such as entrepreneurship and business loans. The center also has an Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship.
  • N.C. State University's Industrial Extension Service. Whether in the office or on the factory floor, N.C. State's IES supports North Carolina business in the workplace IES helps companies stay abreast of the latest technologies and best practices in both engineering and business management. The agency's aim is to help increase productivity, efficiency, quality, and, as a result, profits. The IES toolbox includes lean enterprise and quality initiatives such as ISO management systems and Six Sigma, and environmental, safety and health management.
  • UNC System. The UNC System's 16 university campuses produce high-quality graduates with the skills and abilities to work in the state's leading businesses and to start new enterprises; to produce new ideas, processes and technologies through the work of smart and engaged faculty members; and to work in partnership with businesses, agencies and organizations throughout the state to produce a better quality of life for all North Carolinians. Each campus offers a variety of services, programs and curricula of interest to business and industry, including entrepreneurship, and a number of schools and departments provide business planning and/or marketing consulting for specific projects. The UNC Economic Transformation Council is working to more closely align the university and economic development.
  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)-The North Carolina Division of Community Assistance provides funding to local governments for critically needed community improvement and economic development projects throughout the state.  These funds are for projects that enhance the viability of communities by providing decent housing and suitable living environments and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income. Some of the many programs and resources administered by this department are:
    • Community Revitalization - Strengthens neighborhoods and rehabilitates homes
    • Scattered Site Housing - Addresses the most critical housing needs of families
    • Economic Development - Provides grants or loans to local governments for creating and retaining jobs.
    • Infrastructure - Provides public water or sewer to correct severe health or environmental problems
    • Urgent Needs - Helps communities recover from disasters that threaten public health and safety where insufficient or no local/other funds are available.
    • Capacity Building - Helps non-profits design and carry out CDBG activities in partnership with local government.