Deadline to apply for Chatham entrepreneurship program is January 31

Pittsboro, NC – The Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Innovate Carolina have partnered on a new entrepreneurship development program that will introduce potential business owners to a proven process for starting a business.

The 10-week program known as Next Level will run from February 21 through April 25 and will assist participants that have a new idea for a product or scalable service in developing their idea and launching their business. The classes will be held on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. at 79°West Innovation Hub, 367 Freedom Parkway, in Pittsboro.                                                                

During the program, each participant will discover how to validate their idea, explore its profit potential, and pitch their business concept to a team of professionals who will offer feedback and recommendations.

Terri Brown, CCCC Small Business Center Director, says that one of the main reasons most new startups fail is that the entrepreneur invests time, energy, and money into creating a business before finding out if there is a market for their product or service. “This program is unique in that it takes participants through a step-by-step process for validating their idea and learning how to build a business with minimal risk. Participants will have access to lessons, activities, and a facilitator to guide them through the process. They will know if their idea has the potential to make money before they invest in starting the business,” she said.

Kimberly Yingling, assistant director for innovation hubs at Innovate Carolina, UNC-Chapel Hill’s central team for innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic development, said that Chatham County and other areas in central North Carolina are full of entrepreneurial energy, inventive thinkers, and a growing number of small businesses that make a huge economic and social impact in our communities. “Our Innovate Carolina team is honored to partner with Central Carolina Community College on the Next Level program because we get to collaborate with local entrepreneurs and innovators who want to work on early ideas and venture concepts that have impact potential. By working with them in a focused, step-by-step way, we can validate and strengthen their ideas, prepare them for larger business accelerator programs, and set them up for long-term success,” she said.

Classes are free, but participants must be pre-registered and approved to be guaranteed a space. Class size is limited to 10 individuals.

Next Level is hosted by Central Carolina Community College’s Small Business Center and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Innovate Carolina with support from NC IDEA.

For more information or to register for the program, visit or call 919-545-8015. The application deadline is Jan. 31, 2023.