By: Nick Valego

Chapel Hill is a great place to start and grow a business. 

The town supports a population of 60,000, half of which are students at the nation’s first public university, UNC. Vibrant music, arts, sports and food scenes create a special town that blends rich history with a bright future. 

The greater Triangle area is a growing business hub as well. More than 2,500 startups have been launched in the area, and it was ranked by in 2018 as the third best place in America for small businesses. 

Starting and owning a business can be daunting. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources locally to help current and prospective business owners get situated.

Hone your business plan

Strategy is key to any successful business. 

There are many local organizations that offer counseling assistance and access to experienced mentors. Help is easy to find, and there are many free educational services available. 

  • SCORE, the Service Corp of Retired Executives, promotes the education of entrepreneurs and the growth of small businesses through counseling services and workshops. Its team of 60 counselors across seven locations has experience working with Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike in a wide range of industries. SCORE has an office in the Chapel Hill Chamber. 
  • The Small Business and Technology Development Center provides counseling services for developing businesses across North Carolina. They educate on everything from planning and gathering information to financial and employee performance. The SBTDC has an office in Chapel Hill.

Make connections

Who you know is vital in the business world. 

Networking can be a struggle, but these resources can help business owners figure out how to gain some useful contacts.

  • The Council for Entrepreneurial Development provides resources to accelerate business growth that include pairing startups with a team of mentors. They have a wide network of investors, corporate partners, mentors and entrepreneurs. With more than 400 active companies, they are the largest and longest-running entrepreneurial network in the country. CED also publishes an Innovators Report that identifies trends and developments in North Carolina’s startup/entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro promotes businesses in the area and creates an ecosystem/community of success and growth. Membership provides connection to business contacts, access to events and community data and discounted insurance. It also advocates for and promote local businesses through policy action, an online member business directory and more. 

Access capital

Capital is important for any business, but it’s not always easy to come by. 

Thankfully, there are programs in place to help new businesses get on their feet and existing ones running smoothly.

  • Innovate Raleigh provides three key elements to drive local business growth: funding, talent and opportunities. It focuses on fostering entrepreneurship in underserved communities as well as bringing different entrepreneurial communities together. Key stakeholders that Innovate Raleigh combines within the Triangle area includes entrepreneurs, investors and support organizations.
  • Carolinas Small Business Development Fund aims to foster economic development in underserved communities by providing business training and funding for startups and businesses that may be unable to acquire funding through traditional lending sources. 

Find space to work

A normal office space can be outside the realm of possibility for a number of reasons. Chapel Hill offers state-of-the-art coworking spaces that cater to new startups.

  • Launch Chapel Hill offers coworking space and resources to businesses in Orange County. Twice a year they offer a 16-week accelerator program designed to boost the growth of start-ups and early-stage ventures, matching businesses with entrepreneurs who provide expert guidance. Amenities include wifi, conference rooms and bottomless coffee.
  • Carolina Coworking provides open collaborative space, conference rooms and private offices. All membership plans also include coffee, kitchen equipment, showers, printing and more. Carolina Coworking also houses experienced executives on-hand to provide advice.
  • 1789 Venture Lab is a student-oriented coworking space that allows young entrepreneurs to explore the field, meet other like-minded individuals and begin growing their ventures. The accelerator provides support to members through classes, workshops and collaborations with other local Chapel Hill groups.

How can the 1893 Brand Studio help?

The 1893 Brand Studio wants to help local businesses grow. 

Our work revolves around combining traditional storytelling with modern marketing strategies. We offer web development, graphic design, photo/video and campaign services. 

Whatever your brand needs, our student-driven teams will find the best way to represent you. Contact us today.