Community Engagement Forum, Part II, took place on Saturday | New


The North Carolina Research & Engagement Group, LLC hosted the Warren County Community Engagement Forum Part II on Saturday, October 23, in a virtual format. The theme of the forum was “Educate, Engage and Empower: Pathways to Economic Success”, and the presenters did it all; educate, engage and empower the public.

Hosted by Dr. Tanya D. Ayscue, originally from Warren County, NCREG Director of Operations, the forum was packed with information, resources and tools for citizens to start, grow and grow their businesses, making them able to compete for national and local contracts. and get a job. As this was the second forum held in Warren County, the information presented was informative and provided details on how a business owner starts up and the actual steps needed to achieve historically underutilized business certification. .

Dr William Munn, Senior Policy Analyst at NC REG, provided a compelling, detailed but abridged historical background describing how Warren County came to be and was the fourth richest county in North Carolina in 1860, and today , 161 years later, it ranks as the 11th most struggling county in the state. Dr. Munn began by telling the audience, “Historical context is the starting point when you want to tell a story. “

And the forum presenters did just that; they gave fascinating tales of how rural areas like Warren County became disenfranchised communities, leaving vulnerable populations behind and disconnected from the viable resources needed to access the finance and capital needed to build, develop and develop sustainable businesses.

One of those crucial resources being broadband, Jeremy Collins, North Carolina Office of Digital Equity, presented the state of broadband in North Carolina. Collins said North Carolina is known to have the first digital equity office in the country, adding that broadband should be a public service, ensuring every human has the digital tools necessary to be successful. He also said that efforts to build fiber-optic infrastructure are not new and have been going on for at least 100 years.

In addition, Sharonetta McIntyre of the NC MBDA Business Center of the North Carolina Department of Administration and Historically Underutilized Businesses shared an overview of the main roles of the HUB office, such as HUB certification, NC Small Business certification. Enterprise, and the provision of support and compliance. to these entities. McIntyre, shared the eligibility criteria and step-by-step details for obtaining these certifications, as well as information about the goal of the HUB Small Business Impact Grant, RETOOLNC, designed to help address the challenges that certified NC the Historically underutilized businesses and disadvantaged business ventures are facing as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

James Heyward and Kory Franklin of Heyward CPA provided advice on how to grow your business, while Scott Wolford highlighted the ways in which small business owners can access capital. In addition, Tunya Smith, director of the Civil Rights Office of NCDOT, highlighted the state’s underprivileged business program and on-the-job training programs and highlighted several currently indispensable jobs, such as assessor and companies supplying snow and ice. deletion, among others.

At the end of the forum, participants participated in a panel discussion on the information shared and the next steps in Warren County.

To watch a recording of the forum, visit For more information about NC REG and their efforts in Warren County, call 919-229-9455 or email

The mission of the North Carolina Research & Engagement Group is to create a research and engagement platform that educates, equips and empowers public service leaders, black people and other minority groups to access, process and use quality of life data to facilitate effective social and economic engagement. The NCREG held its first community engagement forum in Warrenton in July, starting a conversation about historically underutilized businesses in Warren County. The organization works to educate the citizens of North Carolina on historically underutilized businesses and how businesses can become HUB certified, which would allow them to bid on various state contracts.

Note: The North Carolina Department of Administration oversees the hub office. According to its website,, created by decree in 1999,

“The HUB office was established to increase the amount of goods and services acquired by state agencies from companies owned and controlled by HUB companies, working to remove barriers that reduce the participation of HUB companies in the market. , and in public procurement and state government contracts, and to encourage procurement officials and investment project coordinators in state agencies, departments, universities and community colleges identify and use HUB suppliers, contactors and service providers, as well as educate the HUB

companies on “How to Do Business” with the State of North Carolina and providing resources to HUB companies. “

TA Jones is an independent contributor to The Warren Record and the author of “The Parent Push, Helping Your Child Succeed Through High School and Beyond” and “A Summer With No Ice Cream”. To contact her, visit

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