Whatever you say about the new Guilford County Board of Commissioners elected in November of last year, one thing seems clear right off the bat, the board has a kind eye toward High Point.
First, out of the clear blue sky, the commissioners showed interest in moving forward on a long-dead incentives plan potentially worth $7 million to aid High Point with its downtown development. And now, this week, the board scheduled a public hearing to consider giving $100,000 for a new non-profit business incubator initiative called High Point Equity Project.
The Board of Commissioners often helps fund organizations in the county that bring benefits to communities, but those are almost always done as part of the annual budget process in June. In fact, when the proposal to give $100,000 to the High Point Equity Project was brought up in a commissioners work session on Thursday, Feb. 4, several commissioners questioned why the money should be granted outside the lines of the usual budget process.
Regardless of those concerns, this week the Guilford County Board of Commissioners announced that it will hold a public hearing on the proposal.
The High Point Equity Project plans to launch this summer with a mission “to support the growth and development of minority-owned and economically-challenged businesses in the City of High Point through the provision of non-traditional business financing, technical assistance, entrepreneurial mentorship, and business coaching.”
One of the project’s strongest advocates, Commissioner Carlvena Foster, said that, in some ways, its functions would be comparable to Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship in Greensboro, in that it would act as a small business incubator for High Point. She said that no office location for the Equity Project had been announced yet, but she expected that to happen soon.
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners, which is expected to approve the funding for the new non-profit, will hold the public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 in the commissioners meeting room on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Courthouse at 301 W. Market St. in Greensboro.
The funds, if approved, will initially be held by the High Point Community Foundation on behalf of the Equity Project.
Due to the pandemic, speakers at the public hearing will have to participate through GoToWebinar at attendee.gotowebinar.com/register.
Or they can register online at that site and then call-in to the meeting by dialing (877) 309-2074 and entering the access code 882-881-520 at the prompt.
The public hearing is being limited to 10 speakers. Those wishing to speak can register on a first-come, first-served basis by submitting an email to firstname.lastname@example.org later than Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m.
Written statements submitted can be mailed to:
Guilford County Clerk to Board
301 W. Market Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Written statements can also be emailed to email@example.com.