Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Check out the Fashion Truck Rodeo on Small Business Saturday

Fashion trucks are headed to South End for Small Business Saturday. Here's how Tobe Holmes of Charlotte Center City Partners describes the event:

"We’ve all heard of food trucks… but fashion trucks? No better time to debut South End’s first fashion truck rodeo than Small Business Saturday on 11/29 in the parking lot of the Shu and Brief storefronts located at 1426 South Tryon Street.

These mobile fashion purveyors are the first step for many entrepreneurs who aspire to a bricks-and-mortar storefront. Don’t think that because these fashion boutiques operate out of the footprint of a campers, buses or delivery trucks they can’t bring some serous style to the runway. But who are we to judge?

Judge for yourself! Come check out Gypsy Jule, Pink Culture, Motor Couture, L Squared, Sole Addiction and Circa 360 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Small Business Saturday, 11/29, at the corner of South Tryon Street and Camden Road. Make a day of it by catching the Holiday Trolley that will be delivering shoppers there every 30 minutes from other its stops at Atherton Mill and a 30 vendor pop-up shop at Triple C Brewing Company."

You can see what the fashion trucks are saying on Twitter about the event: @gypstjulemerc @PinkCultrTruck @motorcouture @Shop_Lsquared @TheSoleAddictio @Circa360Style

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fifi's Fine Resale in Cornelius donates $5K to support breast cancer patients

Julia Austin, left, owner of Fifi's Fine Resale in Cornelius, presents a check for $5,000 to Beth Medlock of the Pretty in Pink Foundation during a recent presentation.

Fifi's hosted fundraising events throughout October to raise money to help pay for breast cancer treatment for some of Lake Norman's underinsured patients.

The Pretty In Pink Foundation, according to its website, serves people diagnosed with breast cancer who have limited or no health insurance. Fifi's, a men's and women's consignment shop, is located at 20601-A Torrence Chapel Road in the Fresh Market Center.

Friday, November 14, 2014

CPCC celebrates entrepreneurs worldwide with int'l trade workshop

Central Piedmont Community College will throw its support behind entrepreneurs worldwide next week after joining with an entrepreneurial hub keyed in to eight Southern cities.

In time for Global Entrepreneurship Week, the college's Small Business Center has signed on to support StartupPoint, a crowd-sourcing resource for entrepreneurs who want to make connections and collect advice.

Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world's largest celebration of entrepreneurs, innovators and job-creators, starts on Nov. 17 and features more than 140 countries hosting over 20,000 activities, according to a news release.

To celebrate, CPCC and the North Carolina Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program on Nov. 19 will host a workshop exploring the legal aspects of international trade. The workshop, which will teach entrepreneurs how to understand exporting products and the legal framework for international trade, starts at 9:30 a.m. and lasts until noon in the center's Hall Building.

StartupPoint's connectors include supporters with companies in Asheville, Wilmington, Durham, Atlanta, Dallas, Savannah, Ga., and Beltsville, Md.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Edison Nation wants to hear from military inventors

If you're a veteran or a military member on active duty who has a great new invention, Charlotte-based Edison Nation wants to hear from you.
Edison Nation, which operates an online community for innovators and produces the public television reality show "Everyday Edisons," is partnering with Ride 2 Recovery to encourage new product ideas.
All submission fees collected in the search will be donated to Ride 2 Recovery, a nonprofit that helps injured veterans improve their health and wellness through cycling programs. (The submission fee is $25 for each new idea submitted; $20 for each new idea submitted by an insider member.)
To participate, military inventors with ideas that are "unique, marketable, patentable, and meet a need in the marketplace" submit their idea at this Edison Nation website.
Deadline is Monday, December 22 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.
The goal is to raise money for California-based Ride 2 Recovery, and also successfully launch a product idea, according to Edison Nation.
To kick off the contest, one of the inventors, Ben Welsh, visited Charlotte on Veteran's Day today to deliver his prototype. His invention, called the "Modular and Portable Lighting System," is comprised of several, identical multi-color LED lighting devices that join together to form a single lighting structure.

In the photos below, Scott Dromms from Edison Nation (in the plaid shirt), Ben Welsh (in the white shirt) and his wife, Jennifer meet at Edison Nation. Photos courtesy of Edison Nation.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

SBA offers entrepreneurs week-long crash course in business

Business owners at every stage, from start up to maturity, will soon get a week-long crash course in entrepreneurship from the comfort of their living rooms if they choose.

To celebrate National Distance Learning Week, the Small Business Administration has launched a blog providing links to a variety of classes on small-business topics, such as how to write a business plan, crowdfunding for entrepreneurs and how to take your business global, according to a news release.

Distance learning is simply attending or participating in a class or educational venture digitally, without the worry of commuting or sitting in an actual classroom.

Starting Nov. 10, each entrepreneur or aspiring business owner will take a class each day tailored to the specific stage their business is in, according to an SBA news release.

Classes start Nov. 10 and end Nov. 14.

Each class is 30 minutes, but require Acrobat Reader or Adobe Flash Player to use. Links and descriptions of each class are available on the SBA's website.

Get your small-business name up in lights

With Small Business Saturday about three weeks away, the City of Charlotte is running a contest that will give a local business one month of free advertising on a digital billboard at the EpiCentre. is organizing the contest, which ends Nov. 17 at midnight.

To enter, small businesses are asked to email their success story to

"Although you’re welcome to attach a Word document or type your story directly in the email, we encourage you to be creative," according to a press release explaining the rules. "Create a video, write a blog, take a picture – do something that fully exemplifies your business and how far it has come."

Don't forget to include your name, an email address, phone number, and business web address.

Small businesses are also asked -- but not required -- to connect with through social media, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and to sign up for the e-newsletter on its website. You can also find more information there about the billboard giveaway.

Small Business Saturday is on Nov. 29.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Johnson & Wales students to pitch their ventures in spirit of Shark Tank

Taking cues from a reality show in which aspiring entrepreneurs present their ideas to would-be investors, nine students at Charlotte's Johnson & Wales University will pitch their enterprises in front of a panel of judges Wednesday for a chance to win $5,000.

Renaissance Executive Forums, an advisory board of top executives, has partnered with the college to host "Shark Fest," billed as a Shark Tank-like event.

The event starts at 5 p.m. at the Hance Auditorium.

Shark Tank is an ABC reality show in which aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of potential investors, or "sharks." If a panel member is interested in the product, the entrepreneur can strike a deal. If none of the judges are interested, then the entrepreneur leaves the show empty-handed.

Each student at SharkFest has five minutes to make their pitch. Then, the judges will spend an additional five minutes asking questions about their ventures.

Members of REF raised the $16,000 to sponsor the event at a silent auction at the Duke Mansion last December. REF members have also mentored the participating students.

More than 75 students with 57 ventures entered the competition. The first round whittled the competitors down to 20 ventures. Nine students were eventually named finalists.