Mountain BizWorks offers small business planning course with food, agriculture, rural focus on Thursday, Sept. 20

Published 6:01 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2012

If you have been thinking about starting or expanding a business venture, you may want to advantage of the next Mountain BizWorks free information session on

Foundations graduate Dawn Jordan of Restoration Farms brings a new face to an old profession. (photo submitted by Carol Lynn Jackson)

Thursday, Sept. 20. This session will lead registrants into an eight-week business planning course beginning Sept. 27. Foundations business planning helps entrepreneurs evaluate and estimate start-up and overhead costs, determine profit goals, project cash flow, develop marketing plans and learn about necessary licensing and record-keeping.
Since 1989, Mountain BizWorks has trained nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs, assisted in the creation of more than 1,300 locally owned businesses, and loaned almost $6 million in western NC. These big numbers are made up of individual small business owners who have worked hard over time to find success.
One example is Dawn Jordan of Restoration Farm in the Green Creek community. Restoration Farm is a “new” farm with an “old” face. Jordan officially began the farm in 2009, following a Foundations business planning course, with the vision to “restore” the plantation roots of the property. Originally part of the Green River Plantation, the farm is situated on fertile land along the Green River with a diversity of landscapes including bottomland, forests, streams and river. The owners are currently pasturing heritage poultry for eggs and meat, raising Bourbon Red turkeys, using organic practices for garden fare and making “Our Own” laundry detergent.
Jordan’s Foundations class was comprised of more than 50 percent ag-related start-up ventures. The group formed an alliance now known as the Community Agricultural Business Alliance (CABA).
“CABA grew and connected our farm with other farmers, agricultural businesses and vendors to build a local network for us,” said Jordan. “In our class, we were given the training and coaching for farm business record keeping, marketing and networking. But the biggest thing I gained from the experience was the encouragement to just go ahead and do it! Just do it! You have a solid business plan now, so go start that business!”
Today, Jordan’s business grows and markets organic produce, heritage poultry and value-added farm products in dozens of different marketplaces throughout the county.
“We’ve come to know and interact daily with a tighter farm community through CABA and we take advantage of the advanced trainings that Mountain BizWorks offers within our community,” Jordan said.
After taking the Foundations business planning course, Jordan further implemented the steps of her business plan and has added a riverside ministry lodge with workshops and courses in sustainable living and a family-limited partnership that manages cooperatively-shared property operations and land-use leases.
The same course that helped Jordan is open to all aspiring and existing business owners in Western North Carolina.
This project was supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Grant # 2010-49400-21817.
– article submitted
by Carol Lynn Jackson

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