Randy Hunt leads SBCAug 22, 2022
Rockingham Community College welcomed Randy Hunt in July as its new Small Business Center director.
No stranger to small businesses in local municipalities, the UNC-Wilmington graduate comes to RCC from the City of Eden, where he was Main Street manager for five years and also took on the role of Community and Economic Development manager for the past year. He has previously run restaurants and a furniture store, worked in consumer finance and retail, and was HR manager for Unifi in two states.
Hunt has been every involved in community organizations, and currently sits on the boards of United Way of Rockingham County, the UNC Health-Rockingham Foundation, Eden Rotary, and the Fine Arts Festival Association of Rockingham County.
Of his most recent job with the City of Eden, Hunt said, “I worked with small businesses to find resources and funding, network, advertise, identify and understand their markets, and adapt their business plans to capture more market share. I helped promote the small businesses, and linked them together through associations.”
Hunt is a certified instructor for Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL) and the Ice House Entrepreneurship Program – both valuable for his new position and the clients he serves.
“I’ve worked in and around all types of businesses during and after college. I’ve been intrigued with small business my whole life,” he said. “I’ve operated small businesses and worked in large industry. I found myself wanting to help small businesses when I started volunteering for the Western Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, and eventually became its chairman of the board in the 1990s.”
Hunt also served on the board of the Eden Chamber of Commerce, and returned later as its full-time executive director for two years prior to joining Eden’s economic development team as Main Street manager.
“My unique background working with small businesses throughout the county leapfrogs to what is expected of the Small Business Center director,” he said.
“I’ve been doing a lot of outreach already, spending time visiting the Eden, Reidsville, and Western Rockingham chambers of commerce, getting to know their membership and their specific needs, being visible and initiating conversations to find out what is keeping them from their next steps and being able to drill deep down,” Hunt said.
“At the Small Business Center, I can help a prospective entrepreneur put together a business plan to see if an idea is viable and test that plan. I can help them see their way through cash flow statements, help procure resources, and help them understand the amount of work involved in running a business,” Hunt said.
That help comes in various forms, such as one-on-one assistance for small business owners and start-ups, workshops and core business classes, partnerships with state and federal agencies and other financing groups, networking opportunities, and resources shared through the statewide Small Business Center network.
“We also have resources available at the college, including a dedicated resource center with a computer, meeting rooms, and confidential counseling areas,” Hunt said.
“And it’s all free. That’s the best part. It’s a testament that the state finds small businesses so important. They are the lifeblood of our economy,” he said. “That’s why I’m excited to be a part of it. It may be the most important thing some people do in their lifetime, and it’s our job to give them the resources they need to succeed.”
Hunt also plans to reach out to RCC students and graduates to make sure they know about the help they can get right on campus. Many of RCC’s programs lead to small businesses such as salons, electricians, welding, accounting and more.
“Frankly, you can make a small business out of everything taught at RCC. There’s a way to monetize your education,” Hunt said. “Everything started out as a small business, even Apple, Shibumi and Atari.”
The Small Business Center is located in the Bishopric Lifelong Learning Center on campus, at 568 County Home Road, Wentworth. Hunt can be reached at 336-342-4261 ext. 2245 or huntr7156@RockinghamCC.edu. Additional information can be found online at ncsbc.net/center.aspx?center=75430.
~By Gerri Hunt, RCC Director of Public Information