Welcome Thrive High Point!

The ribbon cutting at Thrive High Point at Congdon Yards.

When it comes to seeing businesses and business owners in the High Point community succeed, Business High Point stops at nothing. They’re always on the frontlines of making sure businesses are well-equipped with everything they need to be successful. But over the last year, Business High Point has been asking new questions about what it means to truly build equal opportunity for anyone who has the dream of starting a business in High Point. That’s where Thrive High Point: Minority Entrepreneurship Initiative comes into the picture.  

And what is Thrive High Point? It’s a program that supports the specific needs of minority and women-owned businesses in our city. That support encompasses quite a few things: financing, business coaching, technical assistance, and more – all with the belief that when all entrepreneurs in High Point are empowered to own strong businesses, our entire city benefits. Business growth results in more jobs, more opportunities, more services, and more economic capital for all High Pointers. 

So where did the idea for Thrive High Point come from? The concept for the program started this past summer with the High Point Equity Project, a plan created to build sustainable growth for minority-owned businesses. But the conversations that led to the creation of the High Point Equity Project and Thrive High Point started more than a year ago, back in the summer of 2020.  

Councilman, Cyril Jefferson speaks at Thrive High Point's ribbon cutting.

Councilman, Cyril Jefferson

“Our world transformed when George Floyd was murdered,” said Councilman Cyril Jefferson, at the ribbon-cutting for Thrive High Point. Cyril is also the Founder of Change Often, a social innovation consulting firm. He was one of High Point’s forefront leaders in conversations surrounding equality in business.  

“We all began to ask really important questions,” Cyril continued. “Not asking the questions because we didn’t already care before, but now asking the questions because [George Floyd’s death] raised a different level of conversation.”   

This level of conversation was shared by Cyril, several other City Council members, and Dr. Nido Qubein, president of High Point University. Dr. Qubein posed the question to Cyril and other council members: “What can we do for the Black community in High Point?”  

“It’s civics and economics,” Cyril told Dr. Qubein. “Right now, we’re doing a lot of civic leading, but if we do not do something economically, then we will not move the needle.”  

Dr. Nido Qubein, President of HPU speaks at Thrive High Point.

Dr. Nido Qubein, President of HPU

Why is economic impact so important when it comes to healing issues of inequality in our nation? Well, it goes back to our nation’s history. We know from history, that many people were denied the opportunity to own businesses for generations, simply because of the color of their skin. And unfortunately, many of the long-term effects of those inequalities linger. 

“When we look at data at the national level, the state level, the county level, and even the city level, we see the disparities in access to capital and entrepreneurial development opportunities for minority businesses,” explained County Commissioner, Carlvena Foster, at the Thrive High Point ribbon-cutting.  

Guilford County Commissioner, Carlvena Foster speaks at Thrive High Point's ribbon cutting.

Carlvena Foster, Guilford County Commissioner

“Diversity in business is essential to this city’s economic success and growth,” she added, noting how many success stories the Guilford County Board of Commissioners believes will result from Thrive High Point. 

“Economic tide is supposed to lift all boats,” Cyril stated. “But if we don’t address the boats that have leaks in them and the boats that are anchored down, then that economic tide will not lift those boats. The economic tide will still rise, but those boats will inevitably drown.” 

Participants of Thrive High Point sit and listen to presenters at the ribbon cutting at Congdon Yards.

From the conversation with City Council members, Dr. Qubein and High Point University put forth $500,000 as a gift to launch Thrive High Point and address some of those “holes” in business boats. At the Thrive High Point ribbon-cutting, Dr. Qubein shared his belief in the initiative and the good it will bring to High Point’s economy.  

“You’re going to plant seeds of greatness in the minds, hearts, and souls of many entrepreneurial young men and women in this community who will go on to grow fine institutions and fine futures for their families,” Dr. Qubein said. “An entrepreneurial person can start a business and create more jobs, which helps everyone. It lifts our whole city.”   

From that seed gift, Thrive High Point was able to bring on their first Executive Director and Guilford County native, Dr. Bryle Henderson Hatch. Dr. Hatch has worked as Vice President and Chief of Staff at West Virginia State University, as well as the inaugural Executive Director for Community Engagement at North Carolina A&T State University. He will now be leading Thrive High Point to serve a wealth of businesses.  

Dr. Bryle Henderson Hatch, Executive Director of Thrive High Point speaks at the ribbon cutting.

Dr. Bryle Henderson Hatch, Executive Director of Thrive High Point

Dr. Hatch pointed out at the ribbon-cutting, that whether you have an idea for a business, a business ready to scale up, or an “Oprah-level” business, Thrive High Point is here to help you flourish. Additionally, Thrive High Point will create and foster community among business owners who previously may have felt isolated. 

“We want our minority-owned businesses to know they are part of a community and they have a place to come,” shared Dr. Hatch. “They have a community that supports them and wants them to thrive.”   

As an added level of expertise, Thrive High Point is contracting with The National Institute for Minority Economic Development. Founded in 1986, the Institute will serve Thrive as experts to drive results for minority and women business owners, right here in High Point.  

Ladies chat at Thrive High Point's ribbon cutting in High Point, NC.

Because at the end of the day, what each of these High Point leaders want for our city is success. Success for business owners. Success for business employees. Success for our customers and patrons to find businesses they can support and love in our city. After all, we can only call a city a success when it benefits every person living within that zip code – when it gives everyone the chance to pursue their dreams.  

“It’s not enough that we bring jobs to High Point,” Mayor Jay Wagner shared at the Thrive High Point ribbon-cutting. “It’s also about making sure that people who live in High Point, who have a dream and want to pursue that dream – who want to create a business – are able to do that.” 

“Thrive High Point is not just an initiative where we are serving champions of industry,” Cyril said. “It’s not just an initiative where we are helping all of the bold collaborators and innovators out here in the community. This is an initiative that makes real the vision, the dream.” 

To learn more about Thrive High Point, or to sign for business counseling, click here! 

Discover our High Points, 

The HPD Team

Photography by Anna Danielle Photography