Local News

Program Jump Starts Skills for Minority Businesses

Posted March 27, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST

— Starting and keeping up a business is difficult in today's competitive market. Now, a minority business center in downtown Fayetteville is trying to make that task easier. The center is teaching new and existing business owners the skills they need to succeed.

Thirty-six year old Robert Mace has taken over his fathers concrete business. He basically grew up learning about concrete, but lacked other skills. That's where the help of the Southeastern Business and Economic Development Program came in.

"There isn't anything they don't know as it deals with construction or minority business," Mace says, "so, I don't know what i would do without them."

Along with managerial advice, the program provides guidance and technical assistance to existing and upstart minority businesses. The program's construction specialist helps businesses bid on projects. He also makes on site visits.

"In order for these businesses to compete, they have got to be able to know all of the dynamics involved in being in business," explains program director Susan Jones-Monroe.

In 1995, the office was closed because federal funding was taken away. The demand was so high, it was reopened by the state.

The center in Fayetteville is a satellite office for the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic Development. Robert Mace says his business is prospering and he owes a lot of his success and knowledge to the program-- knowledge he hopes will make the family business successful for future generations.

The Southeastern Business and Economic Development Program in Fayettevile serves six counties.