New business workshop

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Starting a Business Workshop, a FastTrac New Venture program, is being offered from May 3−June 10 at St. Cloud State University. The program is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs develop their skills and learn how to start and grow a new business. The course is a ten-module program covering concept analysis and the business planning process.

Dislocated workers who are considering self-employment and entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own business, but don’t have the skills or know how to get their ideas off the ground are invited to register. The class is offered by the Center for Continuing Studies at St. Cloud State Cloud State in collaboration with the Central Minnesota Small Business Development Center and area Minnesota Workforce Centers.

Participants will plan and analyze their entrepreneurial vision by creating a thoroughly researched and tested business plan, working on their business venture throughout the program.

The course goal is the completion of a business plan including; an executive summary, management and organization plan, product/service plan, marketing plan and a financial plan. 

The program is made possible by ProjectGate (Growing America Through Entrepreneurship) Phase II grant awarded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Dislocated Worker Program.

“The program covered all the critical aspects of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur,” said Mark Nicholson owner of Lean Manufacturing of Minnesota, a consulting business that helps identify and eliminate business waste. “From figuring out if you have what it takes to be successful, to understanding and researching your market to financial and legal concerns, and then systematically walking you through the development of a business plan.”

During the course participants are connected with consultants from the Small Business Development Center. 

While 65-80 percent of all business start-ups fail within the first five years of business, 80 percent of SBDC long-term business clients are still in business after five years, said Tammy Anhalt-Warner assistant director of training at the Center for Continuing Studies.

“In the past 10 months our office, in conjunction with the Small Business Development Center in St. Cloud, has run 3 successful Starting a Business – FastTrac New Venture workshops,” said Anhalt-Warner. “100 percent of the 30 participants completed the course and 77 percent of them are in business or in the process of setting up their business.”   

Typical sessions include facilitated discussion and activities, networking, small peer groups, a guest speaker and coaching sessions.

A key part of the course experience is networking and learning from peers as well as seasoned entrepreneurs and professionals who work with start-up businesses. 

“This workshop gave me the opportunity to learn the things that I might have missed after jumping into business ownership,” said Sandi Bernard owner of You Have it Maid, a cleaning business in Cold Spring, Minn. “One of the most rewarding experiences of this group has been the relationships I have established with some of the other participants in the workshop. The networking has been wonderful.”

The course costs $495. For more information or to register, contact Anhalt-Warner at (320) 308-4252.

The FastTrac business development program was created by the Kauffman Foundation, located in Kansas City, to help people who have lost their jobs or entrepreneurs whose businesses are struggling.

The Center for Continuing Studies at St. Cloud State University organizes courses at sites throughout the state via off-campus instruction, interactive television, and online courses and offers a number of non-credit programs. In addition, the Center offers the Senior to Sophomore Program, which allows eligible students to enroll in college-level courses in their high schools.

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