By Deborah Kania / Director of the Small Business Center at Craven Community College
On a very warm Wednesday evening in June, Aree and Ryan Shriver are working in other jobs after full days of work. However, these are not jobs they do just to make more money on the side. These jobs are ones they created because they had a dream of opening a business.
After several months of preparation during nights and weekends, the wife and husband team are now working in their new food truck business, Jasmine Tasty Thai. Since launching in April, the truck has served 30-plus lunches, dinners and special event meals. Their Facebook page has dozens of events already scheduled throughout the rest of the summer.
Aree and Ryan came to the Small Business Center (SBC) at Craven Community College to learn how to become business owners. Aree enjoyed cooking for friends and family. She also noticed there were no food trucks offering authentic Thai food. Aree is originally from Bangkok, Thailand, and met Ryan in Pennsylvania prior to moving to New Bern in 2015.
In the fall, the Shrivers participated every Thursday evening for 15 weeks in the Workshop in Business Opportunities (WIBO) program. Each three-hour WIBO workshop is led by a volunteer discussion leader from the local community. Entrepreneurs explored topics such as market research, finances, legal, customer service, recordkeeping and taxes.
“It is exciting that this project of The Entrepreneur Center of Craven County resulted in job creation and a launch of a business,” said Timothy Downs, Craven County Economic Development director. “Lots of people in our area have potential but just need a helping hand and guidance.”
Downs also participated as a WIBO discussion leader.
WIBO education was provided to participants at no charge through a Z. Smith Reynolds grant. The workshops were organized by the SBC and Leigh Anne Friesen. Friesen is a program administrator with the Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation who financially manages the grant.
Of his experience in learning how to start a business, Ryan said, “The idea seems farfetched and doesn’t seem it can happen. As we were learning, it made more sense.”
In addition to seeking entrepreneurial education and doing the hard work to prepare a new business, Aree advises future business owners to be ready for the unexpected. Aree plans to quit her job as a nanny in October to work full-time in her own business, and is looking employ others.
The SBC provides education and counseling to start-up and existing small businesses at no charge. SBC will begin its fall entrepreneur series on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.
To learn more and to register for upcoming workshops, contact the SBC at 252-638-1166 and www.cravencc.edu/sbc.