Kickstart Kinston aims to help small businesses expand and grow

Kickstart Kinston aims to help small businesses expand and grow

Members of the community attend the inaugural 'Lunch and Learn' event sponsored by Kickstart Kinston on Tuesday at the Community Council for the Arts. Photo by Michelle Taylor / Neuse News

There’s a new program to help small businesses in Kinston.

Kickstart Kinston held its first “Lunch and Learn” Tuesday afternoon  at the Community Council for the Arts.

The program is working in conjunction with Pride of Kinston and the N.C. Rural Center. The business resource program hopes to assist existing entrepreneurs in expanding their businesses and future entrepreneurs looking for support in starting one.

“We're a resource to help connect businesses to whatever they might need,” Kinston Community Development Planner Tatiana Height said.

The Kickstart Kinston program has been in the works for seven months prior to Tuesday's event. There are big hopes for the future of the program.

“We should be an entrepreneurial hub,” Height said. “Kinston can be a place people think of when they think they want to start a business. Kinston is that place.”

Many different resources were present at Tuesday’s lunch to help guide the new business owners and offer support. One of those resources was Skyler DeGrote, a freelance graphic designer.

“I love helping small businesses grow and start," she said. "I have a passion that's going to be successful for the community."

DeGrote designs logos and websites, as well as helping businesses build their marketing and social media.

Many young business owners attended the afternoon event to get some new ideas. Hernika Cannon was at the event to get resources to help her start her nonprofit organization.

“It’s really connecting me to the resources I will need,” Cannon said. “I am a new entrepreneur and want to learn as much as I can.”

Kickstart Kinston team member Chris Jenkins said the program will help new business owners and existing businesses.

“It will help connect them with the resources,” Jenkins said. “We’re trying to be the one who knows where all those resources are and can direct people in the right direction.”

The team is planning to hold a quarterly meeting at various times, such as lunch, after hours, and breakfast.

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