If you were to imagine what a serial entrepreneur looks like, chances are your first thought is someone at the helm of a company that exists on an app or someone whose business is completely dependent upon the internet. It’s easy to get hung up on and celebrate the companies that put regions like the Triangle on the map. Behemoths like Apple and Amazon can fundamentally change the landscape of what it means to live in North Carolina, let alone the Triangle. Companies like Pendo and Epic Games and hubs like American Underground give us all something to be proud of, but ultimately the next tech wave can happen in any metropolitan city and the next town to watch is ever-changing, but before startups came and long after the startups leave small business entrepreneurs will remain the heartbeat of what makes our towns unique.

This episode of Tech on Tap’s Tech On podcast series takes a deep dive into the intersection of innovation and culture with industry leaders and thinkers and celebrates the Mainstreet businesses and entrepreneurs that make our communities thrive.

The Small Business Administration uses the threshold of 500 employees as the ceiling for any business to be considered a small business. That designation alone includes 99.7% of all businesses in the US according to the census bureau. When you think of the concept of a small business you generally imagine a place with less than 20 employees, companies where the owners are just as much in the weeds as the customers. That threshold accounts for more than 86% of all businesses in America and as of 2013, there were 13 million companies that were being run with no employees at all.

Our Guest: Katie Gailes Director of Entrepreneurship Initiatives at Wake Technical Community College. Wake Tech is on the front lines of helping people realize their entrepreneurial goals. In a lot of ways, she helps creative people become innovators, a term not just relegated to unicorn companies.

How can you support the local economy? If you are a local patron, start by shopping local. It may take a little effort, but there are a number of businesses who would love to connect with you. If you are a local business owner, invest in yourself and check out the programs and resources that Wake Tech and other community colleges have ready for you, free of charge. Learn a new skill and incorporate technology into your customer service plan. Schools like Wake Tech can equip you with everything you need to be successful including mentorship. Lastly, if you’ve built a successful business, get involved with helping make these small businesses succeed as a mentor and volunteer. Check out Launch Wake County online for the growing township partnerships Wake Tech is developing and the Wake Tech Small Business Center.

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