Retail Lab is a new program offered by the Cabarrus Center in partnership with the Flywheel Foundation and the Small Business Center at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. It addresses the complexities and sometimes daunting nature of starting and operating a retail establishment.
Retail businesses are a key part of local economic activity and also provide residents with essential community services, cultural experiences, and access to needed merchandise. At the Cabarrus Center, we are focused on driving economic development through entrepreneurship. We support small business owners who contribute to a healthy and resilient base of economic activity in Cabarrus and Rowan Counties.
The Retail Lab program consists of an application-based, 6 week immersive boot camp, followed by an opportunity for new retailers to test their concept in a pop up retail space for 6 months.
Boot Camp will be offered in person and virtually through the Flywheel.Courses learning management system (LMS). In-person participation is preferred, supplemented with the online LMS component for assignments and additional materials. Curriculum topics include: Business Basics, Strategy, Branding and Marketing, E-commerce, Point-of-Sale and Inventory, and Real Estate/Licensing.
This program will serve existing or prospective retail business owners in Cabarrus and Rowan counties. Eligible cities and towns include: Concord, Kannapolis, Harrisburg, Mount Pleasant, Midland, Salisbury, China Grove, Landis and surrounding cities within the service area.
Eligible Boot Camp participants will receive a 3 month Flywheel Membership including space use at the Cabarrus Center, amenities, and member benefits. Additionally, participants will receive ongoing support from the Entrepreneurial Organizations at the Cabarrus Center. Minority and Women Business Enterprises have the opportunity to secure grant funding through the program.
The ideal Retail Lab participant has a skillset and background that demonstrates their ability to execute their concept or their existing business. They will be committed to their idea or business with a clear passion for their project. They must have a unique value proposition of product or service with clarity of market opportunity.
Applications will be accepted through September 24, 2021.
Boot Camp participants will be notified of their acceptance into the program by October 1, 2021.
The Boot Camp will run from October 6th through November 10th on Wednesdays from 6pm-8pm at the Cabarrus Center in downtown Concord.
Following completion of the Boot Camp, participants will be given the opportunity to pitch to the Entrepreneurship Council for use of the pop up retail spaces and available grant funding.