CHATHAM COUNTY: Innovation Center debuts as small businesses mentor

Mar. 07, 2013 @ 05:00 AM

A new resource for area entrepreneurs and small business owners will officially open its doors this afternoon.

The grand opening of EntreDot's Innovation Center of Chatham County is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today at 228 East St., Pittsboro, and, according to company CEO Bill Warner, EntreDot intends to mentor at least 25 businesses out of the new office. Five businesses have already expressed interest in the organization, he said.

"It is a good location that can reach lots of small businesses and potential small business owners in the Pittsboro area, as well as the surrounding zip codes," he said.

EntreDot works to reduce the small business failure rate by educating individuals interested in running a small business, Warner said.

"We are a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help entrepreneurs and potential small business owners be successful by providing business mentoring from seasoned business professionals and entrepreneurial education programs," he said.

EntreDot charges $250 for the education programs and mentoring for small businesses and, Warner said, the innovation center will offer a variety of offices for rent for a nominal fee and will have access to administrative services. Interested residents can attend the grand opening or make an appointment at the center, he said.

The addition of the innovation center will be extremely beneficial to the area, said Chatham Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cindy Poindexer.

"We welcome them coming and know they will be a great resource for the entrepreneur and business community," she said. "I think it's a great idea and great resource."

EntreDot's intention to mentor 25 businesses in the area is a conservative number, Warner said, and he'd like to add more.

"We have a lot of work to do, including meeting the public," he said. "We are established with the (Chatham Chamber of Commerce) and have a strong relationship with the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation."

This is the fourth EntreDot branch — the others are located in Cary, Chapel Hill and Raleigh — and the organization was encouraged to move to the area by the county's EDC, Warner said. EDC President Dianne Reid could not be reached for comment.