Cedric Harrison sees Wilmington in Color with help from Small Business Center
Harrison works in the port city to erase racial and socioeconomic inequities. His journey started in CFCC’s Nixon Leaders Center , a center focusing on increasing the graduation, retention, and success of underrepresented students enrolled at CFCC. His work at CFCC inspired him to develop another outlet for raising awareness and education.
MOVING FORWARD WITH HISTORY
Harrison founded WilmingtoNColor as a coloring book initiative designed around Wilmington’s African American history. He later added a bus tour to educate visitors and residents about Wilmington’s often-overlooked Black history.
“Through community work I was involved in, I saw an opportunity to help resolve racial reconciliation and how communities can cooperate amongst each other,” Harrison explains. “One of the first steps is a basic introduction to people, what people do, and what they can achieve.”
After a year of developing the tour, Harrison was ready to drive forward. To help get the bus tour rolling, former Nixon Leaders Center Travis Corpening introduced Harrison to Jerry Coleman, director of CFCC’s Small Business Center (SBC) .
“Once I got confident enough to move forward with the tourism aspect of WilmingtoNColor, I reached out to Jerry Coleman,” said Harrison. “Jerry was excited about helping and called me in to talk more in-depth about how the SBC could help me with financing and paying for the bus wrap, which is the big graphic you see on the side of the bus. If it weren’t for Jerry, I would still be trying to figure out how to pay for that wrap.”
TURNING THE WHEELS OF CHANGE
When Harrison first met Coleman, WilmingtoNColor was still in its infancy, but Harrison shared his ideas and plans with Coleman. Coleman was quick to offer contact names and assistance.
CFCC’s Small Business Center provided business counseling and funding support through the NC Pandemic Relief Grant to help Harrison launch his new business during the height of the pandemic.
CFCC’s Small Business Center is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs. Coleman helps small businesses develop a business plan, access capital, find resources to be sustainable and navigate through the paperwork and funding options. The SBC also offers free ongoing education for start-up and established businesses.
“We helped Cedric finalize his business plan and marketing strategy, which included a grant to secure a vehicle wrap for his tour bus,” shared Coleman. “This expedited the launch of his new business during a very challenging time!”
“We really do become a partner and are always available to act as coach and cheerleader for our clients,” Coleman commented. “We will work with them as long as necessary to keep them going and help them achieve their goals and be successful in the long run.”
DRIVING THE BUSINESS
Harrison’s dream is happening. The WilmingtoNColor Heritage Tour is on the move. The tour begins and ends at the 1898 Memorial Park and winds its way through the historical areas of Wilmington while sharing the achievements and contributions of Wilmington’s African American population.
The tour is now accepting group reservations for 2023. Harrison also offers an “Off the Bus History Presentation” for events.
If you want to book a tour or learn more about WilmingtoNColor Heritage Tour, visit www.wilmingtoncolor.com .Call or visit Jerry Coleman in CFCC’s Small Business Center to learn how you, like Cedric Harrison, can make your dreams a reality.