The NC Rural Center has created a new nonprofit to help more of the state's small business owners and entrepreneurs get access to the critical capital and resources they need to start or expand their businesses.
Thread Capital will provide small business loans up to $50,000 and access to loans up to $5 million through a network of statewide lending partners. The new nonprofit will also provide coaching and business planning services, as well as a support network for small business owners throughout the state.
"As we embark on the next 30 years supporting North Carolina's small business owners and entrepreneurs, we see this as the first step toward a bold new future for the NC Rural Center," said NC Rural Center President Patrick Woodie. "While building upon the work of our past and never wavering from our mission to rural North Carolina, we are forging a path to a better and brighter future for rural entrepreneurs."
Lending trends in North Carolina have reflected larger national shifts in access to small business capital since the start of the Great Recession. Data analyzed by the Rural Center shows bank lending to rural small businesses with less than $1 million in annual revenues has decreased 61 percent--a total of $1.6 billion--from 2005 to 2015. In that same time period, the number of small businesses in rural North Carolina has declined by seven percent (a total of 4,289 businesses), while the state's rural population has grown by nine percent.
"We are losing rural enterprises while at the same time seeing an increase in our rural population," Woodie said. "The loss of these businesses means a loss of opportunity for our rural people and places, and a growing divide in our state between those with access to opportunity and those without."
"We recognized an emerging crisis for North Carolina's rural entrepreneurs," said Woodie. "While we can't stem the tide alone, we feel an urgency to act quickly and do as much as we can."
After lengthy, in-depth discussions and analysis of lending data, the NC Rural Center's Board of Directors saw an opportunity to build upon the organization's nearly 30-year history supporting rural small business owners. By expanding access to critical capital and supports, the launch of Thread Capital is the Center's first step in building a more robust ecosystem of entrepreneurship in North Carolina, one that gives everyone an opportunity to achieve their small business dreams.
"The NC Rural Center has a proud 30-year history of being responsive to the needs of our state's rural communities," said NC Rural Center Board Chair Grant Godwin. "The launch of Thread Capital represents a new era at the Center and a doubling down on our small business lending efforts. Rural North Carolina needs bold action to build a better future. Thread Capital and the NC Rural Center are ready to help lead the way."
About the NC Rural Center
For 30 years, the NC Rural Center has worked to develop, promote, and implement sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. The Center serves the state's 80 rural counties, with a special focus on individuals with low to moderate incomes and communities with limited resources.
About Thread Capital
Thread Capital believes everyone deserves the chance to be successful. We give people the tools they need to pursue their small business dreams and create a better tomorrow for themselves, their families, and their communities.
For media inquiries:
Senior Director of Public Affairs
NC Rural Center