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Asheboro and other Randolph County communities could see a number of new women-owned businesses pop up thanks to the Entrepre-New-Her business accelerator program.
Tuesday marked the end of the seven-week program that, like the Black Business Accelerator, focused on helping and uplifting local owners of new or soon-to-be businesses.
"Similar to the Black Business Accelerator, each week for the previous 6 weeks, the students have gathered on Tuesday night to hear from a different subject matter expert on a critical area of small business ownership," explained the program's founder Jonathan Thill of startup incubator Venture Asheboro.
The Entrepre-New-Her program was courtesy of a grant provided by NC Idea and Randolph Community College's Small Business Center.
While the Black Business Accelerator focused on Black entrepreneurs, Entrepre-New-Her focused on women.
"Many women struggle to raise funding for their businesses and I think this session dispelled some myths and gave insightful tips for landing the loan," Thill said.
Every Tuesday, for the past seven weeks, participants met with several speakers who provided advice for getting a business up and running.
"The speakers that they had there were very helpful," Latonya Perkins said. "From the bankers to marketing, it was well-rounded."
Perkins was one of eight students who completed the program, according to Thill.
"From here on out it's going to be kind of solo," Thill said to the group of graduates, whose businesses range from doggy daycares to women's crisis centers. Thill emphasized the importance of sticking to their respective business plans as they move forward.
"I'm excited, to be most home," said Kisha Wade, the creator of the Ashley Turner Foundation for Domestic Violence. "I'm a domestic violence survivor and it's something I want to give my heart to."
Like her classmates, Wade said she isn't nervous about taking the next steps solo. She and others said the accelerator played a significant role, regardless of what ultimately happened.
"The people there that I met provided, advice and motivation, Perkins said. " I would think they provided a lot of influence."
Taronza Graves, the inventor of Brave Elements, is looking forward to getting started. She said she feels the accelerator will ultimately be key in getting her business off the ground.
"I thought the program was super valuable," Graves said. "All the different speakers we had imparted a lot of things I didn't think about."
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This article originally appeared on The Courier-Tribune: Woman-focused accelerator sends off batch of Randolph County graduates