Dear Small Business Advocate,

Autumn has officially arrived, with many North Carolinians welcoming the cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and pumpkin spiced treats on every grocery isle. During this time, we at the NC Rural Center welcome a moment to reflect on a journey that has encapsulated a year of diligent work, thoughtful collaboration, and steadfast advocacy on behalf of small business owners and entrepreneurs across the state.

Coalition Membership Update


In August 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, we officially launched a statewide Small Business Policy Task Force. One year ago this month, we concluded a series of regional small business focus groups, which engaged a diverse array of entrepreneurs from across the state whose voices directly informed the work of our task force. In February of 2021, we published the Task Force's recommendations in North Carolina's New Small Business Plan, a bipartisan, small-business policy agenda aimed at ensuring North Carolina entrepreneurs and small business owners can thrive in their environment with more opportunity and resources, and less red tape. And, at our annual Rural Summit in March, we launched the NC Small Business Coalition - which has since grown to nearly 400 organizational and individuals members, including 244 entrepreneurs. 

Over the past year, we've witnessed unpreceded levels of small business funding and support from state and federal levels. During the current legislative session at the North Carolina General Assembly, the concerns of small business owners and entrepreneurs have been front of mind for many legislators (read more in our legislative update below). That said, as we reflect on the past year - it is important that we do not 'fall back' on our commitment as a state to support the main street businesses and small firms who are our economic drivers in rural, suburban, and urban communities alike. 

We thank you for your continued support!

Hurricane Fred Recovery


Thread Capital has reactivated its disaster recovery loan program in response to the effects of Tropical Storm Fred in Western NC. The disaster recovery loan program includes; Resilient Recovery Express loans of up to $50,000 as well as standard Resilient Recovery loans of up to $250,000 designed to assist businesses in Avery, Buncombe, Haywood, Madison, Transylvania, Yancey and Watauga counties affected by Tropical Storm Fred.

For more information on our disaster recovery loans, click here.

Other Offerings:

Mountain BizWorks is assisting in offering two funding opportunities to help small businesses in Haywood County navigate the damages from the Tropical Storm Fred flood disaster as well as COVID pandemic impacts.

Legislative Update


North Carolina seems to be moving closer to having a final state budget. Just last week Republican legislative leaders responded to Governor Cooper's budget counteroffer, with a counteroffer of their own. Internal negotiations will continue to take place between the Legislature and the Governor in hopes of reaching a compromise on key issues such as tax cuts, state employee raises, and more. As of right now, it seems the Legislature and Governor's office are still aiming for a signed 2021-2023 FYS budget and to avoid minibudgets as seen in 2019.

As we anxiously await the conference budget, click the link below to access a table comparing the provisions included in the 2021-2023 FYS House and Senate budget proposals as it relates to the NC Rural Center's North Carolina's New Small Business Plan.

Resources & Opportunities


Shop Rural Day

Accelerate Rural is offering, a live-stream e-commerce show for NC rural brands to sell directly to consumers around the USA. Shop Rural Day will take place on November 11, 2021 starting at 12 noon eastern time and ending at midnight.

Participation will be limited to 250 companies, and there is no upfront cost to merchants. In addition, Accelerate Rural has partnered to provide no-cost shipping for participating companies in most cases. 

For more information visit Sellers can apply here!


RETOOLNC Grant Program Re-Launched

Effective September 27, 2021, the North Carolina Small Business Impact Grant Program, RETOOLNC, is open to any certified historically underutilized business (HUB) and disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) for-profit businesses impacted by COVID-19 that have not been previously funded. Eligible businesses must have fewer than 50 employees, and report $1,500,000 or less in revenue, according to their 2019 tax filing.

To apply for RETOOLNC, click the link below corresponding to your business name:


Business Pulse Survey

The N. C. Department of Commerce, in partnership with the NCWorks Commission and MyFutureNC, is piloting a “Business Pulse Survey” to measure changes in conditions, attitudes, and behaviors in real time - particularly with regards to staffing. The Dept. of Commerce wishes to recruit your assistance in this project by committing to complete a short survey every month, for six months. This survey should only take about 5 minutes to complete. In order to participate, you need to complete the survey for the first time by October 31st.

Take survey.


SBA Update:

Last Month, the SBA announced its Paycheck Protection Program Direct Borrower Forgiveness Portal recorded its one millionth PPP loan forgiveness application for borrowers seeking forgiveness for loans of $150,000 or less.  

If your PPP loan is $150,000 or less, you may be eligible to apply for direct forgiveness through SBA using this online portal. Follow the steps below.

  1. Find out if your lender is participating. 
  2. Watch a video about how to use the portal.
  3. Apply for forgiveness.

COVID EIDL Program Updates

On September 9, 2021, the SBA also announced major enhancements to the COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. The updates include: an increased loan cap, deferred payment period, expansion of eligible uses, and a simplification of application requirements. 

Learn about eligibility and application requirements and how to apply. The last day that applications may be received is December 31, 2021. All eligible applicants should file their applications as soon as possible.


New Program Lends To Pandemic-Affected Small Businesses And Nonprofits

The Southern Opportunity And Resilience (SOAR) Fund provides flexible, affordable capital and free business support services to small businesses and nonprofits across the south and southeast to help them navigate and rebuild from the Covid-19 economic crisis. Learn more here.

Small Business News You Can Use


Duke Energy provides $750,000 in grants across North Carolina for small-business revitalization

The Duke Energy Foundation recently distributed $750,000 in grants to help local businesses across North Carolina – from restaurants to retailers – adapt to the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic. Read more.


Businesses seek to support employees struggling with depression, anxiety NC Health News

During a virtual event last month with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, local health and business leaders highlighted ways to address employees’ mental health needs and talked about how to encourage their workforce to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.


2021 Local Business Impact Survey Highlights Paths for Pandemic Recovery & Inclusive Growth

Mountain BizWorks’ 2021 Local Business Impact Survey garnered responses from 471 local small business owners from across Western North Carolina. This represents the largest number of participants ever. Read more.


22 startups land $10,000 grants from NC IDEA – here are the winners

NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, announced today that the organization has awarded $220,000 to twenty-two North Carolina startups in its seventh NC IDEA MICRO grant cycle. Read more.

Spread the Word!


Please take a moment to share this NC Small Business Coalition newsletter with your friends, colleagues, and networks, so together we can make an even bigger impact on behalf of North Carolina’s small businesses. Encourage them to join you in voicing their support for our state’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Here is a sample message to send to your friends, colleagues, and networks:

The NC Small Business Coalition aims to ensure that all North Carolina entrepreneurs and small business owners can thrive in an environment with more opportunity and resources, and less red tape. As a part of the Coalition, members have the opportunity to engage with their elected officials, participate in exploratory research that will inform policy development and positioning, and be a part of advocacy and capacity-building trainings. The Coalition’s work and engagement is focused expressly on emboldening entrepreneurs and ensuring their voices and experiences are at the center of North Carolina’s changing small-business ecosystem.

Now is the time to advocate for and implement long-term statewide policy solutions to stabilize the economic vitality of our state’s small-businesses. Will you add your name to a growing network of over 380 small business advocates today?

Read more and join today by visiting:

NC Rural Center
4021 Carya Dr. | Raleigh, NC 27610
(919) 250-4314 |

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