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Business Development Center

Rural Entrepreneurial Network

The Upper Coastal Plain Rural Entrepreneurial Network (REN) comprises service providers and entrepreneurs with expertise in the areas of education, technical assistance, business development access to capital, and policy. Members represent the five counties of Wilson, Nash, Edgecombe, Halifax, and Northampton. Membership also includes service providers and representatives from state level agencies.

The REN is a spinoff of the Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship's Entrepreneurial Development System (EDS) initiative. In late 2005 the Institute held its very first E2 Energizing Entrepreneurship training whereby representatives from 85 rural counties came together and formed teams comprising educators, service providers, business and community leaders in North Carolina. These leaders came together for intense training and were challenged to develop regional plans they could bring back to their regions and implement that will help to create entrepreneurial friendly communities and increase awareness of the free small business resources available to entrepreneurs.

One of the goals and objectives of the Upper Coastal Plain team was to take inventory of the programs and services available statewide, and through the 5-county region. As a result, the REN was created. Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments accepted the lead role in this initiative.

REN Partners

Barton College
Braswell Memorial Public Library
Business Information Center Outreach Services
East Carolina College of Business
Edgecombe Community College Small Business Center
Edgecombe Community Coop Program
Good Work
Halifax Community College Small Business Center
Internal Revenue Service
Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship
NC Rural Economic Development Center
Nash Community College Small Business Center 
NC Department of Commerce Business ServiCenter
NC Department of Revenue
NC Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program
NC Institute for Minority Economic Development
NC REAL Enterprises
Roanoke Electric Cooperative
Small Business & Technology Development Center
Self Help Credit Union
Tang Soo Do Karate Center
The Women’s Business Center of NC
US Small Business Administration
Wilson Community Improvement Association
Wilson Community College Small Business Center 
Wilson Community College Coop Program
Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments 
Upper Coastal Plain Business Development Center

We continue to foster relationships, invite members, and build upon this invaluable network.

The REN meets quarterly to plan and conduct open round table discussions around the creation of entrepreneurial friendly communities. Events, such as small business resource expos, are planned annually to increase awareness of available small business resources.