When the term “incubator” is mentioned in the startup world, a modernized Greenhouse isn’t exactly what comes to mind. But that’s what Halifax Community College (HCC) proposed when they recently applied for an NC IDEA ENGAGE grant.

Halifax Community College has an Agriculture Entrepreneurship Certificate Program that helps students understand the agricultural riches of Eastern North Carolina and how to utilize these resources to start their own agriculture business. With severe damage to the Greenhouse Hub which serves as the main space for this program, students who completed the program did not have anywhere to test their ideas or grow their businesses. After learning about the NC IDEA ENGAGE grant at a recent National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) conference, Jerry Edmonds, the Dean of Workforce & Economic Development, applied for and received a $5,000 ENGAGE grant to fix the damage done to the Greenhouse Hub. This will now provide students with the affordable space they need to work on their crops and develop innovative agriculture businesses.

In addition to space for students, HCC is also inviting locals from the community to farm tables in the Greenhouse Hub. The testers will be selected from a geographically and industrially diverse pool of local farmers, businesses, chefs, non-profit organizations and educational groups who are currently working on healthy eating initiatives and have expressed interest in participating.

NC IDEA is excited to see the local community and HCC students come together though entrepreneurial ambition. We believe this project perfectly embodies the purpose of the NC IDEA ENGAGE program: creating vibrant communities through entrepreneurial initiatives. We are excited to see the results of the Greenhouse Hub renovation and the innovative products and companies that emerge from this program!

NC IDEA’s Senior Director, John Austin recently took a tour of the Greenhouse Hub at Halifax Community College and shared the great pictures you see in this post.

Anyone interested in obtaining more information on the Greenhouse Hub and using it to start or expand your agriculture business is encouraged to contact the HCC Small Business Center Director, Kelly Barber by calling the Small Business Center at 252-536-7274, or by emailing her at kbarber968@halifaxcc.edu.   


Written by Program Manager, Sarah Mixter
February 25, 2019