Program Information

Helping A-B Tech students achieve their dream of successfully starting their own business.

The Student Business Incubator Program is a 12-month extracurricular activity designed to provide a motivating, supportive environment to A-B Tech students who want to start their own business and guide them toward becoming sustainable, contributing members of a strong economic community. This program is administered by the A-B Tech Center for Business and Technology Incubation and is located at A-B Tech’s Business Acceleration Site in Enka.

Students interested in participating in this program must submit an application and go through an interview process and present a business plan. Up to five participants at a time will be selected to progress through the program on a rolling enrollment schedule.  All A-B Tech students enrolled in at least six semester hours, who have an idea for a business, may apply at any time.

By providing critical assistance during the start-up phase, the Student Business Incubation Program will help student run businesses overcome the odds of business failure. A National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) study reports that 87% of incubator startups are still in business after 10 years, compared to a survival rate of only 44% of non-participants after four years in business.

Photo Right: A-B Tech student Ashley Eskew spins wool into yarn in the community college’s Student Business Incubator program offices.  Eskew is working to launch her business, Twist Fiber Studio, with the help of the college.  She was able to raise money through a Kickstarter campaign.

2014-15 Info Session Dates

Students can now apply at any time during the year.  To learn more about the program, please plan to meet Diane Hendrickson, SBC Program Developer, at Holly library for an information session (see below), or contact her by email at

Application Deadline: Apply at any time

Frequently Asked Questions   | Student Participants

How to Apply

Students interested in starting their own business must submit an application and go through an interview selection process where they are expected to interview and present a thorough business plan. Admission to the Student Business Incubator Program is limited to current A-B Tech students enrolled in at least six semester hours. Applications can be found online at the link below.

2014-15 Student Business Incubator Application

Eligibility Requirements

The Student Business Incubator program is open to any current full-time A-B Tech student who is enrolled in a minimum of six semester credit hours. Students MUST maintain this status during both the interview process and the 12-month program. Grant funds cannot be used to pay for tuition during the program year. Grant funds are used for business related expenses approved by the program on a monthly basis. Funds are disbursed according to student progress toward achieving key program milestones.

Program Requirements

Once accepted into the Student Business Incubator Program, students will be required to participate in the following:

  • A mandatory orientation session prior to moving into the office space.
  • Open Book Accounting - As part of the learning process, program staff needs to be able to review the financials of the company with the student quarterly, and as otherwise determined, in order to assist in their growth and strategic planning. All information is strictly confidential.

  • Attend Mandatory Monthly Group and Individual Meetings - Each month all Student Business Incubator tenants will meet to hear a guest speaker, network and discuss their ongoing business endeavors. These meetings are required and if missed, can be reason for termination from the program. In addition, each student business will be required to meet with the Small Business Center director individually as well. These meetings will be scheduled at the beginning of each semester.

  • Maintain Student Status - Students must maintain their student status (being enrolled in six semester credit hours) while participating in this 12-month extracurricular program.

College and Community Event Participation

This 12-month extracurricular program receives a lot of recognition within the community and students are expected to serve as ambassadors for the college and for this program during their tenure as requested. 

Program Benefits:Business Incubation

  • Up to $5,000 for each student run business, to be utilized for legitimate business expenses only (subject to verification by program director). Students receive grant funds that are disbursed in conjunction with the achievement of the key program milestones. 
  • Physical space for their business
  • Computer and Internet Access
  • Consulting and technical assistance
  • Access to business machines (fax, copier, scanner, printer)
  • Technology support (Internet access)
  • Coaching, mentoring and individual advising
  • Networking opportunities
  • Conference and training room availability

Participants Will Learn:

  • How to complete a business plan
  • How to effectively manage their business
  • How to better understand the legal issues of small business ownership
  • How to successfully market their product or service

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the definition of a small business?

The Small Business Administration (SBA) classifies a small business as a company with 500 or fewer employees with annual revenue under $5,000,000. 

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Do I receive academic credit for this program if selected?

No, this is a 12-month extracurricular program and students do not receive academic credit and cannot use grant funds to pay for tuition.

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Can students apply if they have already started a business?

YES! Students who have a current business may still apply to the SBI program.

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Can a student accepted into the SBI program still maintain his/her academic schedule?

YES! Students are required to be enrolled in a minimum of nine semester hours.

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What happens after a student graduates from the SBI program?

The primary goal of the SBI program is for a student to graduate after the 12-month period (or sooner) and become a permanent tenant in our Center for Business Incubation, continue his/her business success outside the Business Incubation Center or position his/her business to be sold.

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How could a student become disqualified from the SBI program?

Not maintaining one’s current student status, missing either a mandatory group or monthly meeting, misappropriation of grant monies, engaging in illegal activities and not adhering to the program requirements are all ways in which a student could be terminated from the program.

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Is my idea protected during the application process?

Yes, as you go through the application process, your application package will be kept confidential and will only be shared with A-B Tech staff and the Student Business Incubator Program Selection Committee.

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What happens after the 12-month incubation period?

The goals of the Student Business Incubator Program are:

  • At the end of the 12-month period students will "graduate" out of the Student Business Incubator and apply to become a "Founder" in our traditional Business Incubator, move into outside commercial space or position their business to be sold.
  • These small businesses will become successful, self-supporting entities and will create jobs within our community.
  • Graduates of the SBI will serve as mentors to future students not only at A-B Tech, but also to middle school and high school students who have expressed an interest in entrepreneurship.

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For more information, contact Diane Hendrickson, Program Developer, 828.398.7957,