Business students at Sullivan Foundation partner school Campbell University left their comfort zone and spent much of February making cold calls in an effort to capture stories from rural entrepreneurs North Carolina.

“I enjoyed this project,” said Zach Winston, a sophomore from Raleigh, N.C. “It was definitely challenging to try to find someone, but it was super-cool to learn about what people are doing in their rural community.”

According to Instructor and Entrepreneurship Coordinator Scott Kelly, the NC Rural Entrepreneur Project was inspired by a visit from Patrick Woodie, president of the NC Rural Center. “Mr. Woodie noted that North Carolina as a whole is growing,” Kelly said. “However, the growth is mainly in urban areas while rural areas are declining. It’s the age-old question of how to grow an economy, and the secret sauce is an entrepreneur who is willing to experiment, fail, and try again.”

Results of the interviews included more than just student-created blog entries, podcasts and a mural on the wall. For Miranda Quinn, a sophomore from Kinston, N.C., the result was an internship.

Quinn interviewed Paul Sugg and Zac Holcomb from EastPoint Prosthetics, and they all clicked. “Listening to their answers gave me insight on how they run their business,” she said. “They are truly leading with purpose and making a difference in their community. I am excited that they have given me the opportunity to intern with both of them.”

“Seeing how entrepreneurs in rural North Carolina counties started their businesses and overcame so much adversity was truly inspiring,” said Amary Ryder, a sophomore from Cary, N.C. “Behind every company is a real individual who was determined to solve a problem and followed through despite all the challenges! [I’m] so glad I was able to be a part of this project and witness these journeys.”

This story was edited slightly from the original article appearing on the Campbell University website.

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