Business Education

More than 300 small business owners turn out to City of Fayetteville's first ever Small Business Town Hall event

By Faith Hatton, posted 1 month ago
Town Hall attendees listen in on the fireside chat. 
Photo provided by: The City of Fayetteville.

More than 300 Small business owners of Fayetteville gathered at the Tony Rand Student Center in the heart of Fayetteville Technical Community College’s campus on Thursday, June 14 to learn about the resources and connections available for their success. 

Hosted by the City of Fayetteville and the North Carolina Small Business Administration (SBA), business owners were greeted by City of Fayetteville Economic Development Manager Derrick McArthur and the NC SBA District Director Mike Arriola. 

The SBA's Mike Arriola shares some economic data about the impact of small businesses in North Carolina. 
Photo provided by: The City of Fayetteville.

Arriola shared some updated statistics on the SBA within the state and started by announcing that as of Wednesday, June 12, that there have been 18 million new business filings during the Biden-Harris Administration. 

“In the state of North Carolina we're seeing similar trends in the numbers of new businesses that are being filed. In 2021, we reached about 180,000 new business filings and in subsequent years, we came very close to that record.  We've been holding steady at about 160-170,000 new business filings for the state of North Carolina,” shared Arriola. 

Arriola also shared that similarly, SBA loans approvals have also been strong with the SBA exceeding $1 billion in SBA loans in FY 2021, and following up with $800-900 million in SBA loans in the following years. 

“All of this is to say that in our country, in the state of North Carolina, Cumberland County and the City of Fayetteville, entrepreneurship is extremely strong. And that's what brings us to today's event. This is an opportunity for everybody to hear about all the fabulous resources and programs that the SBA and all of our resource partners offer as well,” said Arriola. 

Guests were treated to a fireside chat by Fayetteville's Mayor Mitch Colvin (Left), moderated by Dr. Tamera Colvin (center) and  SBA Region IV Administrator Allen Thomas (right). 
Photo provided by: The City of Fayetteville.

After receiving a rundown of all of the available SBA outreach offices, programs and opportunities (see more here,) guests were treated to a “fireside chat” by City of Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin and SBA Region IV Administrator Allen Thomas. 

Their chat included prepared questions moderated by Dr. Tamera Colvin, director of the Fayetteville-Cumberland Regional Entrepreneur & Business HUB. Topics included how they as leaders in government support challenges faced by Fayetteville Business Owners, resources available for small business owners in the Fayetteville area, some that are still in the works. 

“We're looking at how it is that we petition. We’re working with our economic development partners. There’s a $5 million fund that we're trying to get for businesses that exist that are looking to scale up and add 10 employees over the next three to four years,” shared Mayor Colvin. 

“We're trying to make sure that we get the terms because we had to re-tweak it with changes at the state level, but we're trying to get money on the street and we're trying to get education to the innovators and entrepreneurs in our community.” 

They also touched on what advice they would give to the small business owners today. 

“You took the first most valuable step because you are in this room. And that's the most important step you could ever make. Make yourself vulnerable. Your business partner might be sitting on the next road for you that changes your entire life. Because guess what, that's how good things happen. Collision space collaboration, and doesn't matter whether it's local funds, mayoral, the state or federal. We're all here for you and all of us know about each other,” shared Thomas. 

Panelists in order left to right: City of Fayetteville Development Ombudsman Jennifer Baptiste,  Economic Development Manager Derrick McArthur, Magaly Rivera, business solutions officer for the Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Kevin Bunn, senior VP of First Bank and Danice Langdon, director of the Women’s Business Center at CEED in Fayetteville. 
Photo provided by: The City of Fayetteville.

Following the chat, Deputy District Director at U.S. SBA, Aregnaz Mooradian took over moderating and several small business advocates and leaders were called up for a panel discussion. 

Panelists included newly appointed Development Ombudsman for the City of Fayetteville, Jennifer Baptiste,  Economic Development Manager Derrick McArthur, Magaly Rivera, business solutions officer for the Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Kevin Bunn, senior VP of First Bank and Danice Langdon, director of the Women’s Business Center at CEED in Fayetteville. 

Each guest was asked a question specific to their field of work and came together to answer a number of questions including how to prioritize business necessities, how to start researching zoning for your small business, how to approach banks for funding and more. 

Following the preselected questions, the floor was also opened to guests to ask their questions. During the Q&A session, guests who couldn’t have their questions answered were connected with representatives who could help them take steps towards a solution. 

Organizers shared that this event was a huge success thanks to the attendees and panelists and would like to thank Fayetteville Technical Community College for accommodating them and their continued support of small business development in the community.


Find out more about the SBA of North Carolina's services and upcoming events here

Learn more about the Fayetteville Economic Development Department and their services here

You can also see the full Town Hall event through the City of Fayetteville's YouTube page here

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