N.C. Community College System Small Business Center Network recognizes local men
Lenoir Community College Small Business Center director Gregor Hannibal, left, and Alton “Bud” Cannon were recently recognized by the N.C. Community College System Small Business Center Network for success through commercial endeavors. Submitted photo
A pair of local men were recognized by the North Carolina Community College System Small Business Center Network for success in overcoming challenges.
Gregor Hannibal and Alton “Bud” Cannon started working on a venture together in April 2017. Cannon said he saw the current renaissance in hospitality and entertainment venues in downtown Kinston and Lenoir County, seeing a potential need for transportation services in a market that has been dramatically undeserved over the past 20 years. Cannon said he researched the feasibility of the business, but no one he turned to seemed to know who to talk to, what procedures to follow, the licenses that would be needed or the regulatory agencies to connect with.
“I also encountered an intimidating list of local ordinances that I saw as potential roadblocks,” Cannon said.
Hannibal, who works as the director of the Lenoir Community College Small Business Center, said Cannon injured his back working and became disabled.
“He began looking at self-employment options, including entering the livery business,” Hannibal said. “While the 1950s and 1960s saw several thriving taxicab companies in the Kinston area, those services had dwindled to only a couple of one-car-one-driver concerns.”
After six months of planning and conversing with Hannibal, Cannon applied for and received his permit to operate his personal vehicle to transport customers. A couple months later, Cannon purchased a dedicated vehicle for the taxi business.
“I am appreciative of the LCC Small Business Center and the assistance (Hannibal) has provided and continues to provide me,” Cannon said.
Cannon was also recognized by the Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce in 2018 with the LCC Small Business Center Microenterprise of the Year Award for demonstrating outstanding entrepreneurship. .
“I am proud of what Bud has accomplished and how he continues to work through challenges,” Hannibal said.
The annual statewide awards honor small business centers and center directors for Innovation, Service/Collaboration and Programs/Seminars and Business Success Story (Most Impact and Overcoming Challenges), along with the State Director’s Award and Rookie of the Year. Center directors are also recognized for years of service and professional credentialing.
“We’re pleased to recognize the accomplishments of these outstanding small business center directors and the success of their programs,” N.C. Community College System president Peter Hans said. “They help entrepreneurs achieve their dreams of starting businesses, and those businesses have a significant impact in their local communities.
“The small-business centers, located at all 58 community colleges, contribute to North Carolina’s economic development, starting an average of 700 small businesses and creating or retaining more than 3,000 jobs each year. We applaud each of them for the difference they make every day.”