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NC IDEA, a private foundation, recently awarded Halifax Community College through its Small Business Center, a $5,000 NC IDEA ENGAGE grant.   

The grant will be used for repairs to the campus greenhouse in order to return it to services as an agricultural business incubator for graduates of HCC’s Agriculture Entrepreneurship Certification Program. The grant allows them to rent a table to start growing their crops.   Members of the community, both businesses and nonprofits, will also be allowed to rent tables in the Greenhouse Hub to expand their current agriculture operations.

In October, NC IDEA attended the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurs Conference in Dallas where they first learned of HCC’s Greenhouse Initiative through a presentation made by Jerry Edmonds, HCC dean of workforce and economic development.

His presentation on HCC’s Agriculture Entrepreneurship Certificate Program, a national pilot program, attracted the attention of NC IDEA President Thom Ruhe.

The ENGAGE grant is a “community-focused grant program used by NC IDEA to support individuals and organizations by helping them offer programs, organize events, and generally facilitate activity that brings like-minded folks together to support entrepreneurship activity.”

During a recent tour of the HCC Greenhouse on January 16, Senior Director of NC IDEA John Austin said, “We are excited to partner with Halifax Community College’s Small Business Center and the many organizations already supporting this initiative because we understand the role the Greenhouse Hub Incubator will perform in providing vital support services to businesses during their initial startup phase.”

During the tour, HCC President Michael Elam and Vice-President of Academic Affairs Jeffery Fields both thanked Austin and NC IDEA for their commitment to HCC Greenhouse Hub and they looked forward to building on the excitement that has been generated from efforts throughout the Greenhouse’s testing period.

Kelly Barber, HCC Small Business Center Director, also thanked Austin for joining the Greenhouse tour and for his organization’s vote of confidence in HCC’s ability to bring the Greenhouse back to life so it could help businesses and the community grow and prosper.  

She stated, “We look forward to showing you our rural community’s innovativeness in creating successful businesses in our Greenhouse Hub and we welcome you to come back again next year to see how we are growing.”

Anyone interested in obtaining more information for using the Greenhouse Hub to start or expand their agriculture business is encouraged to contact Barber, at this link, by calling the Small Business Center at 252-536-7274, or by emailing her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..