Small Business Center

The Small Business Center (SBC) at Central Piedmont brings people together to learn, launch, connect, and grow. If you're ready to start a business or scale an existing venture, the Small Business Center programs and services will give you the skills, mindset, and network to succeed. 

Pitch us your business idea — it's a chance for $10,000

Pitch us your innovative business idea in 53 seconds and compete for cash awards of $10,000, $5,000 or $2,500. The 53 Ideas Business Pitch Competition opens May 1. Video entries will be accepted through May 31. The competition is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank. Prepare and submit your entry before it's too late.

Submit your entry (53 Ideas website)

How to Prepare Your 53 Ideas Competition Submission

  • Pitch Tips and Resources

    First Round Pitch Tips

    Judging of the initial video idea submissions will focus on your idea.

    In your 53-second video entry, be sure to:

    • tell us who you are.
    • clearly define the problem and how your idea/service/product solves it.
    • identify your target customers and the impact your solution will make.
    • share what is unique about your solution; why is it better than options that may currently exist?
    • communicate how you would make it happen if you had the resources.

    Video shooting tip: if you are recording from a cell phone, recording in landscape with the phone held horizontally works best.

    Webinar Training to Prepare for the Next Round

    Visit 53 Ideas to sign-up for training to help you:

    • prepare for the next round of the competition
    • further develop your idea
  • Get Help from Central Piedmont's Small Business Center

    We can help you:

    • position or frame your idea
    • record your 53-second idea pitch
    • learn new skills
    • get no-cost one-on-one business counseling 

    Email us at sbc@cpcc.edu to learn more. 

About the Small Business Center

  • Map and Directions

    The Small Business Center is located on the Central Campus

    Address

    Central Piedmont Community College
    Small Business Center
    Hall Building, Suite 214
    1112 Charlottetowne Avenue
    Charlotte, NC 28204

    Directions: Google Map 

    Free parking for clients is located in the parking deck on the corner of 4th and Charlottetowne Avenue.

    Directions

    From the North:

    Take I-77 South
    Take the Brookshire Freeway / I-277 / NC-16 exit – Exit 11 0 .1 mile
    Merge onto I-277 S / NC-16 S via Exit 11A on the Left 2.6 miles
    Take the 4TH ST / NC-16 exit – Exit 2A toward 3rd St 0 .1 mile
    Turn Left onto E 4th Street / NC-16 S. <0.1 mile
    Turn Left onto S McDowell Street / NC-16 / NC-27 <0.1 mile
    Turn Left onto E 3rd Street / NC-16 S. 0 .4 mile
    Turn Left onto Charlottetowne Avenue <0.1 mile

    From the East:

    Take I-85 South 
    Merge to I-77 S / US-21 S – Exit 38 toward Columbia 2.3 miles
    Take the Brookshire Freeway / I-277 / NC-16 exit – Exit 11 0.1 mile
    Merge onto I-277 S / NC-16 S via Exit 11A on the Left 2.6 miles
    Take the 4TH ST / NC-16 exit – Exit 2A- toward 3rd Street 0.1 mile
    Turn Left onto E 4th Street / NC-16 S. <0.1 mile
    Turn Left onto S McDowell Street / NC-16 / NC-27 <0.1 mile
    Turn Left onto E 3rd Street / NC-16 S. 0 .4 mile
    Turn Left onto Charlottetowne Avenue <0.1 mile

    From the South:

    I-77 N toward Charlotte
    Take the John Belk Freeway / I-277 / Wilkinson Boulevard / US-74 exit – Exit 9 toward US-29 / NC-27. 0.2 mile
    Merge onto I-277 N / US-74 E via Exit 9B. 1.5 miles
    Take the 3rd Street / NC-16 S / 4th Street exit – Exit 2A. 0.4 mile
    Turn Right onto E 3rd Street / NC-16 S 0.2 mile

    From the West

    I-85 N toward Charlotte
    Take the NC-27 E exit – Exit 34 toward downtown 0.4 mile 
    Merge onto Freedom Drive 2.4 miles
    Freedom Drive becomes S Clarkson Street 0.1 mile
    Merge onto I-277 N / US-74 E via the ramp on the Left 1.5 miles
    Take the 3rd Street / NC-16 S / 4th Street exit – Exit 2A. 0.4 mile
    Turn Right onto E 3rd Street / NC-16 S. 0.2 mile
    Turn Left onto Charlottetowne Avenue <0.1 mile

Small Business Center Counseling

Need answers? We provide free one-on-one confidential counseling for your small business and startup venture. Whether you need help on business planning, business growth, problem solving, or cash flow management, talk one-on-one with an expert. Virtual and phone consultations available.

  • Request Business Counseling Services

    Request free, confidential business counseling

    The Central Piedmont Small Business Rebound Professional Service Grant opportunity provides individual support  through contracted professionals to help your business recover and grow.

    Learn more or apply now

  • Become a Business Counselor

    Become a Central Piedmont Small Business Center Virtual or In-person Volunteer Business Counselor and help assist entrepreneurs and business owners to plan, launch, and grow local businesses.

    If you are searching to share your expertise to help entrepreneurs achieve their business goals, Central Piedmont's Small Business Center has an exciting and rewarding opportunity for you. 

    Become a member of our Volunteer Counseling team and assist entrepreneurs on a limited basis, either on location at the Small Business Center or virtually. Virtual counseling sessions will use a WebEx-powered meeting center, which allows clients to meet with counselors virtually online to receive business coaching, advisement, and mentoring.

    Process to Become a Virtual Volunteer: 

    • Potential volunteers should complete and submit the SBC Virtual Volunteer Application along with a current resume or bio.
    • Your application will be reviewed and compared to the SBC's current needs.
    • SBC will interview you to determine best placement and timeframe for desired activities.
    • If approved by the director, you will need to complete and sign the following volunteer forms:
    • After the above paperwork is processed, a program developer will schedule an orientation date to acquaint you with SBC counseling procedures and the online tool to be used for virtual counseling (Webex).
    • Volunteer activities will begin.

Seminars and Workshops

Small business seminars designed to help you navigate startup and growth challenges are offered for free online and at Central Piedmont campuses. Enrollment is limited, so please be sure to register.

Programs and Courses

The Small Business Center offers many business and entrepreneurship courses starting throughout each semester. Experienced instructors and proven material helps prepare you to start, grow, lead and manage an entrepreneurial venture. With topics ranging from formation and operating plans to growth strategies, you'll find the Small Business Center has courses to guide you.

  • Course Schedule and Registration

    Featured Programs

    Current Schedule 

    Small Business offerings can change. If a program or course you are interested in is not currently offered, contact the Small Business Center. 

    Register 

  • Scholarship Opportunities

    Thomas J. Hall Scholarship for Continuing Education Studies at the Small Business Center

    The Thomas J. Hall Endowed Entrepreneurship Scholarship Fund at Central Piedmont has been created through the generosity of Mr. Thomas J. Hall, President, The Hall Group. The award of scholarships represents Mr. Hall’s commitment to the college and to its students interested in learning about entrepreneurship and running a small business.

    The scholarships will be awarded to Corporate and Continuing Education students who display significant potential as a successful entrepreneur and future business leader. Successful candidates must demonstrate a passion for entrepreneurship and meet the eligibility/application requirements.

    Eligibility Requirements and Application

     

  • Become an SBC Instructor

    The Small Business Center is always looking for presenters with new ideas for an interesting course or seminar topic. If you have an idea for a class or seminar, the desire to teach, and meet the below requirements, please submit an instructor interest form.

    Suggested Qualifications:

    • Degree, accreditation, licensure and/or experience in the subject area
    • Minimum of three years of experience in your subject area
    • Current or previous business ownership experience
    • Teaching or training experience with adult learners
    • Ability to communicate effectively

    Fill out the Instructor Interest Form

Resource Center

The Small Business Center at Central Piedmont provides the local business community tuition-based courses, a non-degree certificate program, networking events, free seminars, no-cost counseling, and a business resource library. We proudly assist some 2,500 start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners each year.

  • Resource Center Location and Hours

    The Resource Center is located on the second floor of the Hall Building on the Central Campus. It offers lending and use of professional resources to guide and increase your business knowledge. Visit us today, and take advantage of these valuable resources available at no cost to you.

    • Print Materials 
    • Multimedia and Subscription Materials
    • Computer Workstations                                                

        Hours of Operation

        The SBC Resource Center currently offers virtual training and counseling. Please call 704.330.6736 or email sbc@cpcc.edu

        Monday – Thursday: 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
        Fridays: Closed during a portion of the summer session. Call for details. 
        (Evenings and special needs welcomed by request.)