The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship has been a part of the Greensboro, North Carolina, community since 1987. Founded with a mission to attract, advise and house startup and early- stage-growth entrepreneurs, this nonprofit organization provides founders with co-working spaces, shared support services and educational resources to assist in the launch and growth of new ventures. In its 29 years, the Nussbaum Center has graduated more than 290 businesses, which have yielded 1,200 jobs within the Greensboro community.
The incubator features an Entrepreneur Assistance Support and Education (or EASE) Program, which pairs founders with master’s- and graduate-level interns from the University of North Carolina Greensboro to assist with business plan outlines, general business practices, marketing, finance and the like. The incubator also offers mentoring services, legal advice, financial planning and technology resources via networking events, monthly newsletters and a community of entrepreneurs, investors and mentors in the Greensboro area.
The Nussbaum center currently serves 51 companies, 74 percent of which are minority- or women- owned. One way the center is cultivating diversity is by partnering with the Minority/Women Business Enterprise Program, an initiative of the City of Greensboro’s Economic Development department.
The Minority/Women Business Enterprise Program encourages certified minority- and woman-owned companies to bid on city contracts to increase competition and to stimulate the local economy. The program gives minorities and women equal opportunity to participate in city contracting and purchasing programs while protecting them against discrimination based on sex, religion, race or country of origin.
The Nussbaum Center and the City of Greensboro are working together to enable diverse founders for a number of reasons; this effort has the potential to increase the quality and diversity of goods and services within the community, it can spur greater economic growth and can even increase state revenue. But more importantly, an increase in diverse founders means an increase in diverse employees. Studies have shown that minority-owned businesses tend to employ a larger number of minority individuals. In this sense, the Nussbaum Center’s initiative to diversify business owners can be seen as an investment in Greensboro’s minority community as a whole.
To apply for a space at the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship, new or emerging businesses should submit a business plan outlining their basic operational, marketing and strategic goals and objectives and show a significant need for work space and support.