Moore County earned the designation of Certified Entrepreneurial Community® in July 2022. The initiative was sparked during a feasibility study to redevelop a building into an entrepreneurship hub. That project uncovered assets and opportunities to grow the small but burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem in Moore County. Entrepreneurship can be a key economic development strategy for Moore County if resources are organized and an entrepreneurship strategy developed and implemented. Moore County Partners in Progress formed a coalition to do just that through the Certified Entrepreneurial Community® Program.
A task force of individuals from government, small business, nonprofits, and entrepreneurial support organizations (ESOs) was established. The Task Force was led by Moore County Partners in Progress staff, Natalie Hawkins, Executive Director, and Melanie Thompson, Office Manager. The CEC® Task Force developed an action plan to raise awareness of resources for entrepreneurs. The project to create a digital resource guide culminated with a new landing page on the Moore County Partners in Progress website that is linked to a regional entrepreneur initiative – Sandhills Entrepreneurship Engagement Network. https://www.moorebusiness.org/start-relocate-expand/start-a-business/ The Resource Navigator is a very important tool that will guide entrepreneurs to resources to startup and grow.
The CEC® Task Force outlined their next project to raise further awareness – an entrepreneur summit. The Task Force will begin planning the summit this fall in anticipation of holding the event in mid-2023. Moore County joins 12 other counties and municipalities in North Carolina as a Certified Entrepreneurial Community®. The Certified Entrepreneurial Community (CEC®) Program is an economic development strategy that equips communities to become entrepreneur ready. The designation means every door leads to opportunity for the entrepreneur. The CEC® program includes an Ecosystem Assessment, an Action Plan, Coaching, and Certification. An Action Plan is developed for an entrepreneurship project that will advance the ecosystem. The task force works through the plan with coaching support by CEC® staff. Certification is awarded after a local task team accomplishes their goal on the entrepreneur initiative. Throughout the project and beyond, certified communities make a commitment to ongoing action planning and implementation of entrepreneur initiatives. Designation as a Certified Entrepreneurial Community® signifies this is a place where there is constant innovation in the support