For WNC Employers

Our locally owned businesses are vital to our region. We appreciate our employers and are here to support you by connecting you with all of the resources available to you.



Haywood Community College Small Business Center Online Training Events

July 17: Using Relationships to Grow Your Business: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series 

July 22: Never Too Late: Start a Small Business at 50+

July 22: The Best Business to Start Right Now

July 24: Overcoming the Fear of Becoming Your Own Boss: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series 

July 31: Creating a Business Budget & Sticking To It: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series 

Aug 6: AgriTourism for Working Farms Tours: Tour One- Smoky Mountain Mangalista

Aug 7: Bold Branding: Mindspark Live

Aug 7: Knowing Your Small Business Resources: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series 

Aug 13: How to Start a Business 

Aug 13: AgriTourism for Working Farms tours: Tour Two-Sustainabilities

Aug 14: Managing Balance & Burnout in Your Business: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series

Aug 20: AgriTourism from Working Farms Tours: Three- KT’s Orchard

Aug 21: How to Write a Business Plan

Aug 21: Creating a Happier & More Motivated Team: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series 

Aug 22: Financing Your Small Business

Aug 27: Small Business Tax Essentials

Aug 27: AngriTourism for Working Farms Tours: Tour Four- Jehovah Rah Farm

Aug 27: AgriTourism for Working Farms tours: Tour Five- Ferguson’s Supply and Glamping 

Aug 28: How to Set Up & Manage Business Goals: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series

Sep 4: 8 Things You Should Do Before Starting A Business: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series

Sep 4: Resilient and Ready: MindSpark Live

Sep 11: Finding Your Customers

Sep 11: Work Smarter, Not harder- time Management Strategies: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series 

Sep 17: Basics of Bookkeeping

Sep 18: Food on the Move Business Summit- Full-Day Conference

Sep 18: Reach Customers Online With Google: Small business Lunch & Learn Series 

Sep 20: Sales for Introverts: Sales and Service for Introverted Creatives 101

Sep 25: The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Small Business Lunch & Learn 

Sep 27: Sales for Introverts Series: Sales and Service for Introverted Creatives 102

Oct 1: AU for Small Business Series: Class 1- Intro to Ai & Chat GPT 

Oct 2: Marketing Your Small Business

Oct 2: Preparing For A Small Business Loan: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series

Oct 2: Cultivating Customer Loyalty: MindSpark Live

Oct 8: AI for Small Business Series: Class 2- Next Level Chat GPT for Business Growth

Oct 9: Growing Your Business Network: Small Business Lunch & Learn Series 


NCRLA Foundation Hospitality & Tourism Training Program

This program provides free certifications and educational training courses to help attract, retain and expand talent needed to help fuel hospitality related businesses.


No matter whether you are a brand new business owner needing help getting your business off the ground or an established business looking to get to the next level, NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall wants you to have access to as many useful resources as possible to help you succeed, including our new business checklist.

Our Rural RISE NC initiative connects you with mentors, business counselors, funding resources, and more – within your community and beyond. Even better, many of these resources are free.

Customized Training for YOUR Small Business

If your small business could benefit from customized training in:

    * Customer Service
    * Hiring, Recruiting & Training
    * Basic Supervision, or
    * Train-the-Trainer

If you need to create or update your employee handbook or policy manual, Sequoyah Fund can help!

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

NC Idea For Entrepreneurs

Grants & Programs – Whether you have an idea or have already launched your startup we deliver grants and programs to help you take that next leap or scale operations. By building trust and working closely with entrepreneurs, we strive to ensure greater impact and long-term sustainability for the companies we serve.


Southwestern Commission

Officially known as the Southwestern North Carolina Planning and Economic Development Commission, we cover the counties of Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, and Swain, the 17 municipalities therein, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Southwestern North Carolina continues to change rapidly, and as the population increases, so does the demand on local government to provide the needed services and infrastructure.

The Southwestern Commission remains on the leading edge of this growth, providing expertise in land use planning, economic and workforce development, and elderly services. Our work and your love of this region ensure that regional growth occurs healthily and sustainably that benefits us all.



Supportedly exists to help the Everyday Entrepreneur start and grow their business with confidence. By providing how-to training, answers and advice on-demand, quality support, and local connections, we’re here to help you reach your goals.


Mountain BizWorks

Change the landscape of the local economy—invest in our work for entrepreneurs. You shop local and buy local—but now you can be invested in local. See how it works to invest in Mountain BizWorks.


Southwestern Community College Small Business Center

Your Small Business Center wants to help, and we are right here in your local community serving Jackson, Macon, Swain County and the Qualla Boundary. Our passion is the success of your small business! Our experienced counselors and trainers can help take the confusion out of what can seem like an endless list of rules, regulations and red tape. We can show you what it takes to start your business, serve as a sounding board for your ideas and assist you as your business grows.


Haywood Community College Small Business Center

If you are thinking about starting a business or are ready to grow an existing business in Haywood County, we are here to help!
The Haywood Community College Small Business Center offers a wealth of programs, services, and resources to assist you with all phases of your small business journey.


Tri-County Community College Small Business Center

The Tri-County Community College (TCCC) Small Business Center (SBC), one of 58 SBCs throughout North Carolina, supports the development of new businesses and the growth of existing businesses by being a community-based provider of training, counseling, and resource information. Confidential counseling services and access to resource libraries are free of charge. The TCCC SBC is located at the Cherokee County Center for Applied Technology in Marble and provides free business seminars and workshops in Cherokee, Clay, and Graham Counties. The SBC offers a wide variety of FREE seminars and workshops to help small businesses be successful. The offerings range from one-hour introductory seminars to several-day workshops. Topics constantly change in response to business needs.


The Sequoyah Fund, Inc.

Since 1998, Sequoyah Fund has been making business loans ranging from $1,000 to $150,000 to small businesses on the Qualla Boundary and in the seven westernmost counties in North Carolina that may have trouble securing funding from banks and other traditional sources. We consider non-traditional collateral, offer flexibility in the loan structure, and manage loan decisions and relationships locally. We also work to ensure our clients’ success by offering highly customized business coaching, ongoing training, and the expertise of outside consultants when needed. Our mission is Lending and Training for Small Businesses, and this combination of lending and training helps entrepreneurs overcome obstacles, grow strategically, and create jobs.

For a list of upcoming events, click here. 


Mountain Area Workforce Development Board

The Business Accelerator Grant for Incumbent Worker Training is a competitive, cost reimbursement training grant through which qualifying businesses can address employees’ skills gaps. These skills gaps can be a result of a worker’s changing responsibilities/requirements in her/his job, or for a worker whose job may potentially be eliminated, and skill upgrading is needed to accept new responsibilities. Incumbent worker (IW) training should increase the knowledge, skills, and/or certifications of workers, and increase the competitiveness of the employee and the employer.


National Dislocated Worker Grant of WNC

Choosing a new career path can be filled with hopes and dreams for the future, but can also be daunting. A unique funding opportunity to aid dislocated workers on this journey is now available thanks to a $7.5 million National Dislocated Worker Grant managed by the Southwestern Commission and Land of Sky Regional Council for an 11-county area of Western North Carolina.

We help individuals impacted by economic conditions find a new occupation, field or trade through education and training. Grant funding covers the cost of going back to school or enrolling in certification programs to acquire new skills.

The National Dislocated Worker Grant for WNC also offers financial incentives for employers to provide on-the-job training for dislocated workers. Unlock the potential by contacting us to learn more about this historic opportunity.


MountainWest Partnership

Located in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina, the Mountain West region is full of rich cultural life, rapidly expanding communities and an exceedingly diverse economy. As one of the most coveted places to live in the United States, our region offers an ideal combination for businesses looking to locate, grow and thrive. From finding a workforce, to relocating or even starting up a brand new company, the Mountain West Partnership can facilitate the success of any business through connecting you and your business to any information, community organization or tool you may need.


WCU Center for Career and Professional Development

The Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) at Western Carolina University is committed to providing exceptional customer service and support for all your recruitment efforts.  We not only serve our local communities in the western region of North Carolina, but we also work with employers throughout the nation to bring the best students Western Carolina University has to offer!  We are excited to continue expanding our relationship with current employers and look forward to working with new employers as we offer more services and outreach to our community partners and employers.


WCU Small Business and Technology Development Center

Founded in September 1984, North Carolina’s Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) is the business and technology extension service of The University of North Carolina, which oversees the 16 constituent institutions of the University. The SBTDC is administered by North Carolina State University and operated in partnership with the US Small Business Administration. With a lead center in Raleigh, NC, the SBTDC operates 10 regional service centers in 16 total offices and six specialty programs to provide management counseling and educational services to small and mid-sized businesses. Most of our services are free of charge, and all are confidential. By providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to build and grow successful businesses, the SBTDC positively impacts NC’s economy.


Got Your Back Business Summit

We are delighted to announce that our Got Your Back Business Summit is now available online! You can take it at your leisure, for free!

The Got Your Back Online Academy provides tools that you can immediately put to use in your business.

Join other local business owners in this online course as we address finding and keeping the right employees, effective leadership strategies, digital marketing, affordable benefits, how to handle challenging customers and employees, ways to improve the workplace environment, and training.

The Got Your Back Academy is a result of the NC Cooperative Extension – Jackson County, Mountain West Partnership, SCC’s Small Business Center, Western Carolina University, Create Bridges WNC, & NC State University working together to help businesses in WNC as they face staffing shortages and other challenges.

We invited a wonderful group of speakers to lead the Got Your Back Academy. They each brought their own expertise, resources, and tangible tools for our region’s employers. We discussed with them what keeps our business owners up at night. Together, we continue learning new ways to maneuver the current workplace challenges.

This course is designed to support our local employers, packed full of tools & resources to help employees know that your businesses have their backs! And we have yours!

As a business owner, you have seen it all and learned so much. What in the world could this course offer you? Maybe nothing. You may be the best employer that you could possibly be. But perhaps there are some tools that could make your work life easier, your workplace more pleasant and your staff more reliable.

Take a sec to read through these questions to see if this course could be useful to you:

  • What do you do with that employee who is always late but you can’t let go of?
  • How do you make sure your best employees stay with you?
  • How do you attract new employees?
  • How do you handle an irate customer?
  • How can you be s stronger leader?
  • Do you think that offering your employees benefits is something you can’t afford?
  • Could your employee training process use some improvement?

If any of these questions catch your interest, then we invite you to explore the GYB Online Academy. No catch, no gimmicks. A free opportunity to learn from industry experts and other business owners in a user-friendly online format that allows you to watch and learn at your own pace.

*All employers who complete this course or attend the in-person GYB Academy in April will NOT have to pay a registration fee to attend the WeSpeakWNC Workforce Conference at the Cherokee Convention Center on February 27th & 28th.

More about that later but trust me – you do not want to miss it. If you’d like to take the first step on this journey, click this link:

Got Your Back Radio

Take a listen to this interview from WRGC radio that explains the origin of The Got Your Back Employer Training that was introduced as as in-person event in April of 2022 in Jackson County, NC.

Curious about Broadband in your area?

Check out the FCC National Broadband Map.

Soft Skills

Soft Skills are imperative for being able empower your employees so that feel confident in their jobs and is a strong aspect of the ability to retain them. You can share these materials and our free online training, Ready 2 Rock, with staff so that they can learn about them.