Tips for Starting a Business in Gates County

It is recommended that you contact the following Offices for information prior to opening a business in Gates County:


Business License: Gates County does not require a county business license to operate a business in Gates County. 


Gates County Planning Department:  The Planning Department will confirm that your property is zoned correctly and confirm if your business is a permitted use under the Gates County Zoning Ordinance.  The Planning Department will also provide guidance on any special use permits, rezoning, or variance applications that may need to be submitted.  

Gates County Planning Department

Zoning Ordinance


Register of Deeds: If you name your business a name other than your own name, complete an Assumed Name Form.  Click the below link to access the form at the business link to NC Department of Commerce.  For information call 1-800-228-8443 or 919-807-4280, Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Complete the form, have it notarized, and take it to the Register of Deeds Office for recording.  The document must have a 3-inch margin at the top of the first page.  There is a $26 recording cost for any document containing up to 15 pages.

Gates County Register of Deeds


Gates County Tax Department: All Businesses are required to list all business personal property with the Tax Department during the month of January for the purpose of county taxes.

Gates County Tax Department


Gates County Customer Service Department: A Beer and/or Wine License must be purchased if your business is going to sell beer and/or wine, for off premise consumption.  There is a fee for both licenses.


Fire Marshall: Every business is required to be inspected for fire and life safety codes


Small Business Center for Gates County:

SBC Elizabeth City Campus

John Wood Foreman Center

Elizabeth City NC


Confidential Business Counseling

COA Small Business Center (SBC) is a state funded organization that is part of the Small Business Center Network. The SBC provides small business owners with information they need for success, including advice on marketing, sales, bookkeeping, and management. We offer, at no cost, the following services:

• Confidential counseling to help you deal with your business needs;
• Training and technical assistance in starting your business;
• Business skill seminars, workshops, and courses;
• Resource and referral services - your one stop entrepreneur's shop; and
• A library with small business publications and literature.


Business Counseling

Free one-on-one confidential counseling for your small business and startup venture. To schedule an appointment please complete and submit a Request for Counseling Form and the Small Business Center Director or Assistant Director will contact you. 

Small Business Resources and Business Plan Assistance

The Small Business Center provides a physical resource center located onsite with access to books, videos, and business planning assistance. Additional resources can be found at the following:

  • Small Business Center Network:

  • NC Department of Commerce: or toll free 1-800-228-8443 

  • As a comprehensive community college, we offer the business owner opportunities to improve customer service, or the entrepreneur guidance in developing their dream business. We assist those individuals who need to earn a high school credential or its equivalent. We offer career opportunities for individuals who desire to learn a skill or enhance their current knowledge base for job advancement. We provide an excellent academic pathway for individuals who want to eventually transfer to a four-year university. We even provide you the opportunity to take a personal enrichment class - just for fun! Whatever you aspire to achieve, we know that the opportunity of learning changes everything!