|Marjorie Rorie, Director of Community Services for Truliant FCU, chats with students during the credit union's REAL Entrepreneurship class.
Thanks to Truliant Federal Credit Union’s Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL) Entrepreneurship Program, small business owners and entrepreneurs are receiving a comprehensive education on financial and business literacy in underserved and rural communities in North Carolina.
Truliant FCU used an innovative and experiential entrepreneurship training curriculum, developed by North Carolina REAL Enterprises, Inc., an organization whose mission is to develop entrepreneurial talent through action learning and to foster the creation of sustainable enterprises throughout North Carolina, with special emphasis on rural communities.
Truliant FCU received a grant for the REAL Entrepreneurship program last year from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to cover the cost of instruction and materials for program classes.
"Our goal is to work with entrepreneurs in low wealth and rural communities to provide money management skills that improve their financial position and also build their financial strength to access more products and services," according to Marjorie Rorie, Director of Community Services for Truliant FCU.
“Truliant FCU’s focus on experiential learning for their REAL Entrepreneurship program is a great approach,” said Lois Kitsch, National Program Director at NCUF. “At the National Credit Union Foundation, we’ve found experiential learning strategies to be one of the keys to a successful financial literacy program.”
Program is Collaborative Award-Winning Success
Last year, Truliant FCU launched the six-week workshop series in partnership with local nonprofits in six counties surrounding Truliant Member Financial Centers in North Carolina. So far, Truliant has implemented five cycles of the workshop series with the last one completing in March 2013. 54 people in underserved areas have attended and completed workshops.
Truliant FCU collaborated with the Burlington Housing Authority of Alamance County and Alamance Community College to teach REAL classes. The partnership led to the group being named a 2011 recipient of the prestigious National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) Merit Award for job creation through entrepreneurship training. Also, in 2012, the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council named Truliant FCU a Best Practice Award winner for its REAL Entrepreneurship program.
As part of the REAL Entrepreneurship training, Truliant FCU worked to improve attendee credit scores and habits through credit counseling and education coupled with their Share Secure Credit Builder, financial literacy and entrepreneurship education, as well as offer technical assistance on their business plans. The program also has helped generate awareness for Truliant FCU as a resource for serving entrepreneurs and potential small business owners.