Meet Teresa Reynolds. She believes that entrepreneurs and small businesses are the lifeline of the economy in the Sandhills region. Growing up with parents who had successful businesses and then co-owning businesses herself, her own experiences are allowing her to help small businesses and startups thrive.
Sandhills Entrepreneurship Engagement Network (SEEN): What’s your story? Who is Teresa?
Teresa Reynolds (TR): Both of my parents were entrepreneurs, establishing several successful small businesses, one spanning over 40 years. I continued to work in that business after college. In 1993, on a whim, I applied for a teaching position at Sandhills Community College (SCC). Having no thought of changing careers in my mid 30s, that’s exactly what happened. I began teaching English and later taught computer technology for about 15 years. Eventually, I transitioned into college administration. During that time, I also co-owned two small businesses.
In 2016, when the director’s position at SCC Small Business Center became open, I was asked if I were interested in the job. I said “yes” immediately. I absolutely love this job. I love helping people make their dreams come true.
SEEN: What made you become an Entrepreneur-in-Residence for SEEN?
TR: In 2017, the SCC SBC collaborated with the Thomas Entrepreneurship Hub for an Entrepreneurial Summit that was held at SCC. Our keynote speakers were professors from UNC Pembroke. I’ve continued to stay in contact with the Hub and when they were looking for an EiR for the Moore County region, my name came up. I’m delighted to be part of this project.
SEEN: What impact do you think entrepreneurs and small businesses have on economy in the Sandhills Region?
TR: The Sandhills Region has a healthy presence of successful entrepreneurs and small business owners. They get the “shop local” message out very well. Local residents in Moore County are committed to support our local small businesses. I’ve been amazed at how well our businesses have pivoted, increased their e-commerce, and even rebranded during COVID to keep their businesses alive. They work together to support each other and have figured out how to keep their doors open, even if they have to do business outside. New businesses create significant economic impact by creating jobs. They are the lifeline of our local economy.
SEEN: If you could give one piece of advice to early-stage entrepreneurs what would it be?
TR: Talk to your friends and acquaintances who are in business. Take them to lunch and ask them what worked and what they would do differently. And, don’t try to launch this venture alone. There are many NC resources to help you get started, at no cost to you. Reach out.
Want to connect with Teresa? Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org