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Originally published: 2012-12-14 15:20:48
Last modified: 2012-12-14 15:20:48

Agripreneur workshops begin Jan. 10

by Anna Oakes

If you have dreams of transforming your farms into a thriving business, consider enrolling in the 2012 Agripreneur Workshop Series.


Sponsored by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, the High Country Workforce Development Board, the N.C. Cooperative Extension and the Caldwell Community College Small Business Center, the six-week series takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays from Jan. 10 to Feb. 21 (excluding Feb. 14).


"This program will give participants interested in starting, diversifying or increasing their marketing potential an opportunity for formal training and discussion with other farmers who have been effective in building their agricultural businesses," said Jim Hamilton, director of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Watauga Center.


Because scholarships are available to all who apply, the workshops are free for those who complete the required paperwork from the Small Business Center.


Participants may register for any of the six workshops, but organizers recommend attending all six sessions, as the workshops are hands-on and the information builds sequentially.


Arlene Childers, a consultant and former assistant director of North Carolina REAL Entrepreneurship, will facilitate the workshop series.


First on the workshop list is "Exploring Agriculture Entrepreneurship Self-Assessment and Community Analysis" on Jan. 10. The guest speaker is Caleb Crowell of New River Organic Growers.


The Jan. 17 workshop is "Introduction to Business Planning, Market Feasibility, Competition, Sustainability," with guest speaker David Nicklaw of Sunshine Cove Farm. Jan. 24's workshop, "Financial Feasibility and Break-even Analysis," features guest speaker Melissa Spoharski from Accountable Inc.


Participants will discuss marketing plans on Jan. 31, followed by business operations on Feb. 7, with Shiloh Avery and Jason Roehrig of Tumbling Shoals Farm.


Concluding the series will be a workshop on business financials.


For more information and to register, visit http://agripreneur.brwia.org/index.html or call Evelyn Asher at (828) 263-5371.