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The Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce has created a program of self-help for small businesses in Randolph County filled with knowledge provided by local people successful in their own such efforts.

Commissioners table request for Business Gym funding

ASHEBORO — Randolph County Commissioners chose to table until their February meeting a request by the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce.


The request, made by chamber president Linda Brown, was for $50,000 as the second and final payment for a program launched in 2022 called The Business Gym. She said that the project was developed as a result of Randolph County’s 62.5-percent increase in new business startups during the COVID-19 pandemic. The commissioners had approved the initial $50,000 for the launch.


Brown told the commissioners that the second $50,000 is needed to complete a library of content to continue the program and “have it available free to anyone and everyone in Randolph County.” The program is found at www.businessgym.org.


The program, she said, is a way to “help small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and prosper.”


According to the website, “The Business Gym is full of resources geared toward small business owners, business leaders, entrepreneurs and young people entering the workforce hungry to grow their careers.”


The Business Gym, she said, is a series of videos by local professionals on various topics. New business owners, who may not have time to go to classes, can log on to a particular subject and learn what they need to know.


David Allen, vice chair of the board, noted that of the 600 repeat users, the vast majority were from Asheboro. He said he would like to see more users from across the county. Brown said she plans to take the program to the other municipalities and chambers of commerce.


Chairman Darrell Frye said that it was his understanding that there would be another similar request at the February meeting and that a portion of those funds would go to the chamber. Brown said that request will be for a separate program for businesses. Frye responded that he would like to look at both of the programs together to make sure there is no duplication. Brown agreed, saying, “I think it’s a smart move to table until February.”


The board voted to table the request and hear it with another request, which is expected to be made by Dr. Jonathan Thill, founder of Venture Asheboro.


In a telephone interview with Randolph Hub, Thill said he had a preliminary conversation with Frye, who asked Thill for additional documentation of the separate project. 


Thill explained that the project he’s working on is an accelerator program for local businesses hoping to bid on work at either the Toyota or Wolfspeed advanced manufacturing sites. He said the program will explain requirements to be a contractor or supplier of an international company.


His program, which has yet to be named, will be working with the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce, Randolph County Economic Development Corporation, and the Small Business Technical and Development Centers housed in universities. “Toyota and Wolfspeed need to be part of the conversation,” Thill said.


“We’re like The Business Gym but focused on industries and businesses preparing to land megasite contracts,” he said. 


There should be more information about both projects at the commissioners’ Feb. 6 meeting.