Berkowitz Receives ‘Boots on the Ground Award’

GREENVILLE—The N.C. Small Business Center Network (SBCN) recently recognized Pitt Community College Small Business Center Counselor Shareen Berkowitz for providing strong leadership on one of its major projects.

Berkowitz, who began working at PCC in 2013, received the “Boots on the Ground Award” for her part in planning SBCN’s annual professional development conference last year. She and other SBCN award winners were honored Feb. 16, during a State Board of Community Colleges meeting in Raleigh.

“These awards showcase the hard work of our small business centers, singling out the ‘best of the best,’ and we are excited to have them recognized by our top leadership,” said SBCN Director Anne Shaw. “We also realize that much of the success of our Small Business Centers is achieved due to (their) outstanding leadership.”

As a member of SBCN’s Professional Development Committee, Berkowitz is part of a leadership team that plans the network’s professional development events. Her committee responsibilities grew exponentially in November 2016, though, after the PCC Small Business Center agreed to host SBCN’s 2017 spring conference.

The event took place March 15-17, and in the month’s leading up to it, Berkowitz tackled numerous logistical tasks, including coordination of meals and hotel rooms for approximately 80 people, booking meeting rooms and audio/visual equipment, and identifying speakers and presenters. The conference, which included a unique vendor showcase that gave attendees a chance to meet individuals who have benefitted from PCC Small Business Center seminars and counseling services, garnered rave reviews.

“… We were overwhelmed with positive feedback and compliments about the success of the event,” Berkowitz said, adding that she was nevertheless “shocked and totally surprised” to receive an award from SBCN.

“It really just meant the world to me, and I will cherish that moment forever,” she said. “We have a phenomenal network of people in the Small Business Center Network.

“Also, without the support of our incredible PCC Small Business Center team, under the leadership of Jim Ensor, I would not have received the award. I feel it was a team effort, and the award belongs to all of us.”

In her role with PCC, Berkowitz provides counseling, resources and training to existing and prospective entrepreneurs seeking guidance on starting businesses, developing business plans, marketing, and other aspects of small business ownership.

Pitt’s Small Business Center, which is located within the PCC Greenville Center on Memorial Drive, is dedicated to training the community’s potential and existing small business owners and helping them succeed in order to create and retain jobs in Pitt County. More than 3,000 Pitt County residents use the center’s services each year.

Two years ago, SBCN Metrics showed the PCC Small Business Center to be North Carolina’s best in terms of small business startups (69) and third in small business counseling hours utilized (1,420). In fact, the center ranked fifth overall within the 58-member SBCN and placed in the top 10 of all six metrics recorded for 2014 and 2015.