Allan Younger keeps entrepreneurial spirit alive

Forsyth Tech Small Business Center Director Allan Younger used the center before he became its director.

In 2009, Allan Younger wanted advice for the consulting firm he’d just started, so he turned to the Small Business Center of Forsyth Technical Community College. Now as director of that small business center, he helps entrepreneurs overcome the hurdles to success.

The  Forsyth Tech Small Business Center is one of 58 state-funded centers across North Carolina that provides services to small businesses and those thinking about starting one. The center is located at 525@Vine in the Innovation Quarter housed in 25,000 square feet devoted to Forsyth Tech’s various business and industrial services.

The center holds more than 15 education sessions and about 40 appointments for business counseling  a month.

Younger, who counsels small business owners himself, said that the center provides advice and guidance for what can often be a very daunting process of opening and maintaining a business.

“One of my biggest goals ever since I started this job in 2013 was to help people increase their confidence that they can be successful,” he said.

Younger said that he had several sessions himself when he was starting up his own management consulting business, GRACE Consulting. He said it was very beneficial to him and opened his eyes to things like what he, as a business owner, would need to keep records of for taxes.

He said he was inspired to go into business by his father, who worked for IBM for more than 30 years. He said there’s no shortage of African-Americans working in business or starting their own small businesses.

“I think a lot of it is because a lot of African-Americans grew up either in families, or knowing people who owned their own small businesses,” he said.

Younger also teaches business courses at Winston-Salem State University. He says many of his students come into class already thinking about starting their own businesses. Younger said about 40 percent of those served by the center are minorities. Among the center’s many community partnerships is one with the City’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise Program to hold events there.

Younger, who grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, has a degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Masters in Business Administration from  Winston-Salem State University.

He worked in the mortgage industry for years at companies like General Electric and Republic Mortgage Insurance Company. After being laid off during the recession, he decided to start his own consulting firm. In 2010, he started giving educational presentations for the Small Business Center, and in 2013 he became its director.

As director of the Small Business Center, he oversees two employees who coordinate the education and counseling sessions there. The Center has about 15 volunteer counselors and about 30 presenters for its workshops. It also has two satellite offices: one in The Enterprise Center and the other in Walnut Cove.

He said aside from advice, guidance and education, the center also has meeting spaces, computers and Internet access for its clients. It also shares information with local businesses online through its LinkedIn group.

BY TODD LUCK 

THE CHRONICLE

Original link: https://www.wschronicle.com/2016/02/allan-younger-keeps-entrepreneurial-spirit-alive/