GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Murlai Ramaswamy has walked into his Greensboro health care office every morning for the last five years.
From the start, he knew being a small business owner would be tough, and he could use some guidance to keep growing,
“Being an entrepreneur itself, and being a start-up is a big challenge,” Ramaswamy said.
It is a challenge he says is even greater being a minority business owner.
“I’m an immigrant, minority, I call it the 2 or 3 Cs, cultural challenges. Even though I’ve been in the US for over 20 years. I’m native born in India, so there’s also a cultural gap. There’s also a communication or accent gap. Then certainly you hear a lot about color being an issue,” he said.
Ramaswamy wanted help. An online search led him to the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce’s Scale to Excel Program.
His business became one of 15 minority businesses that chose to participate.
“Being selected into this gave me a tremendous boost in confidence,” Ramaswamy said.
Over the last seven months, he had an education, management, and business support system.
Tanisha Pridgen also benefited from the program. She owns True Clean Experience in Greensboro.
After almost a decade in business, she’s still learning.
“There’s things we haven’t been exposed to before. Panelists and advisors, and people are sitting down and showing new ways of thinking. Things we haven’t learned or tried,” she said. “If you are an owner that’s great at what you do, this can definitely take your business to the next level.”
For minority businesses to qualify for the program owners must have at least $175,000 in annual revenue, one other full-time employee besides the owner and be in business for at least three years.
There is a fee of $15,000 per business owner.
The chamber offered the program for free with some sponsorships help this year.
It is not yet clear if the offer will happen again next year.
If you want to sign your business up, head to the Greensboro Chamber’s website.