Events

Contractors Academy Celebrates Three Years of Connecting Business Owners to Opportunities

RALEIGH, N.C. (June 7, 2022) – Wake Tech today celebrated 41 business owners from three cohorts of the Wake Tech Contractors Academy who have taken steps to develop a comprehensive strategy for public-sector contracting in Wake County.

The Contractors Academy is a 10-week training program designed specifically for small and minority- and women-owned businesses. The program, now in its third year, prepares business owners for public-sector contracting, supports them in increasing their capacity and invites them to bid on projects at Wake Tech, the Wake County Public School System and other public entities.

An in-person reception held at the Scott Northern Wake Campus recognized members of the Class of 2022, along with participants from the classes of 2020 and 2021 who completed the program virtually due to the pandemic. Business owners were honored by college leadership and program partners.

"Providing opportunities for small, minority- and women-owned businesses translates into dollars not only for the businesses but also for our community," emphasized Dr. Gayle Greene, Wake Tech's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Wake Tech has a long history of encouraging and supporting locally owned businesses in Wake County."

Since its inception in 2020, the Contractors Academy has sharpened and strengthened the skills of local business owners. Some of the early successes include:

  • 41 business owners completed the program.
  • 30% have been invited to bid work at Wake Tech. 
  • Of those invited to bid work at Wake Tech, 21% have been awarded opportunities.
  • 24% of participant businesses have expanded and experienced significant growth.
  • One business is projected to reach $1 million in sales this year.

Ray Ryan, chief executive of Jobs for Life, spoke to the class about the importance of networking and becoming a mentor. "A leader is the sum of the people that they surround themselves with – success attracts success," he said. "Leaders are readers – never stop learning – and as small-business owners, we should reach back and bring others forward when given the chance to do so."

The Contractors Academy is a collaboration between Wake Tech's HUB Program, StartUp at Wake Tech, the Wake County Public School System HUB Program and an array of corporate and community partners. Applications for the next Contractors Academy will open in October, with the fourth cohort scheduled to begin in February 2023. Learn more about the Wake Tech Contractors Academy.