Program gives local entrepreneurs unique opportunity for business growth

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For self-starters, it starts with an idea. Something unique they can bring to the market. For Kerri Hall, she wanted to stick to what she knew: furniture.

"Heirloom quality furniture, customizable, designed and manufactured in North Carolina," Hall said.

For Chirstie Soper, she wanted to offer a unique travel experience for customers.

"We are really focused on helping travelers to be empowered," Soper said.

But before empowering her customers, Soper needed help empowering her business. Soper and Hall may have completely different businesses, but they are connected through a program helping them both grow.

"Helping people pitch, to understanding what it means to open a bank account, to learn how to scale and grow their business," said Executive Vice President of Entrepreneurship for Launch Greensboro Lou Anne Flanders-Stec.

Flanders-Stick and the people at Launch Greensboro have an 11-week accelerator program called the Growth Series. They're accepting applications until Feb. 16.

In hubs around town, like the Collab on North Greene Street, they help new businesses find clients, develop pitches and grow.

"I was just a moth to the flame," Soper said. For Sopers' unique travel business, Suncierge, the expertise of the program helped her develop stronger contacts.

"It's been helpful to sort of have this community to bounce ideas off of," Soper said.

Kerri Hall created MicMagByMe, her custom furniture company based in King.

"I want to bring more jobs back to North Carolina, back to the United States," Hall said.

She's worked in the furniture business for 25 years and, with the help of 20 employees, manufactures and sells furniture directly to the consumer.

"The Growth Lab has really helped me in getting some digital assets together," Hall said.

Having only started a year ago, she just sold their first sofa. Hall says that success wouldn't be there without the guidance from the Growth Series.

"You have the support in the people that can cheer you along and can also say hey, wait a minute, you might want to back up and let's redo this or rethink this," Hall said.

And for people who are passionate about making their ideas grow, that support means everything.