Recently, BDI Project Manager Misti Humphries completed an intensive course in sustainability and received certification as an Accredited Professional. The course is an ?industry first? developed in conjunction with the Sustainable Furnishings Council and approved by ranking staff of Rainforest Alliance, World Wildlife Fund and one of the co-founders of USGBC/LEED. The program was written by a LEED Accredited Professional and is designed to pick up where LEED leaves off, focusing specifically on the home furnishing industry.

The coursework provided a ton of detailed information on the environmental issues affecting choices in the furniture industry and the wide range of product options, most of which don’t cost any more than ordinary ones. It’s simply a matter of knowing the right places to look and the right questions to ask. Humphries commented, ?I had no idea how important all of this is, and I look forward to being able to share what I have learned!”

BDI plans to host a one-hour class, “Sustainability Essentials”, to provide a brief overview of the longer certification course and to encourage those employed in the local furniture industry to ?Go Green?. More information on this initiative will be available soon.

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Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.

(August 24, 2010) – Burke County is now a “Certified Entrepreneurial Community” (CEC). This is an exceptional honor, as Burke is only the sixth county out of the 23-county Western North Carolina region to receive this designation.

This designation attests to the county’s vibrant and active entrepreneur environment. CEC is administered by AdvantageWest, the regional economic development group for Western North Carolina. Chuck Moseley, team leader of the committee instrumental in this certification, acknowledged that the purpose of the CEC program is to develop a business atmosphere that offers entrepreneurs enhanced resources along with a wide-range support system.

To obtain certification, team members from Burke County completed a rigorous five step process. These steps include assessing the community’s current entrepreneurial landscape, creating a comprehensive strategy for entrepreneurial growth, marshaling the community’s entrepreneurial resources, and identifying and nurturing the community’s most promising entrepreneurial talents.

As a result of this certification process, a key networking group named BeBo, Burke Entrepreneurs & Business Owners, evolved. BeBo provides ongoing networking opportunities. “People already involved or who want to become involved in the business community have a chance to exchange ideas and expertise; this in turn fosters a culture of entrepreneurship,” Moseley said. Quarterly networking events are held at different locations across the county to encourage attendance and participation.

“Burke County led the region in developing this entrepreneurial network,” says Pam Lewis, Senior Vice President of Entrepreneurial Development at AdvantageWest. “One of the keys to success for a CEC is developing ways to connect your entrepreneurs, creating a peer-to-peer network. When entrepreneurs get together they learn from each other’s successes and failures. They form strategic partnerships. It energizes the whole CEC program.”

Achieving the status of a “Certified Entrepreneurial Community” lets the local, regional, and national community know Burke County is entrepreneur-ready! Scott Darnell, President of Burke Development Inc. stated “job growth occurs at different levels in a community, we have to be conscious of those who have the passion and innovation to take an idea and develop it into a business plan. CEC is the venue we have in Burke County to encourage and promote this initiative.”

Sources: Advantage West and Chuck Moseley

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Burke Development Incorporated, BDI, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization supported by private and public funding that is charged with accelerating economic growth in Burke County. BDI works with industry leaders, site selection consultants, existing businesses, government agencies and other entities to promote growth, innovation and sustainability in Burke County. For more information about BDI visit www.BurkeDevInc.com.