We train and provide technical assistance and support for people who are interested in starting a new or developing an existing small business in order to create income for themselves and their families.
Our work with clients covers a comprehensive curriculum that includes the four major elements of microenterprise development programming:
- Training and assistance to start or expand a business
- Financial literacy training
- Strategies to access markets
- Access to credit
The Training Cycle
Each training cycle incorporates the following:
New Information Sessions
Information Session – Information sessions are held regularly throughout the year. These orientations are free to the public and provide background information about our training program, entrepreneurial support services and our organization. It is also a place to gain some knowledge about prospective participants, answer questions and provide introductory materials.
Business Readiness Workshop – This two-day workshop is a wonderful way to explore both self-employment and business ideas. It provides to those who are interested in starting or enhancing a small business the information they will need to decide whether they want to participate in our classes. We will look at what is required to launch or grow a business – risks, costs, and rewards and the commitment and hard work necessary to succeed in the Business Planning Program and in business. There is a fee for this workshop.
Business Planning Program– Our very experiential course covers all of the main areas of business planning, including marketing, pricing, competition, customer service, financial planning and record-keeping. In addition, the planning program gives participants practical, hands-on experience in developing their business plans. Specialists in the different areas of the training present periodically. Participants gain many skills in addition to the business planning tools they need for their small businesses. These skills impact their confidence level, self-esteem and organization as they refine their presentation of their products and services. There is a fee for this planning program.
Post Training Support– To graduate, participants must attend all class sessions, actively participate in the discussions, pay appropriate fees, write and submit a completed business plan. There are also required to present a summary of their plan at our Business Showcase (Graduation), which is a community celebration of their accomplishments. Generally 60-90 people from the community attend these free graduation celebrations. Enterprise for Equity trainers and other specialists review each business plan and are available for technical assistance after the class is over. Learning Circles meet regularly to provide a safe, supportive, energizing community in which Enterprise for Equity graduates can test out new ideas, receive input on how to tackle challenges, celebrate their successes, and continue the learning process that began in the business training.
Evaluation – We conduct an informal written evaluation of the program and track graduates over time. We use the information we receive from current and past participants to tailor, improve and adjust the services we provide. This year’s program reflects the changes we have made based on feedback from participants and other factors. We value all feedback we receive and always look for opportunities to improve all that we offer and do.
“If you don’t have a solid business plan you’re not going to go anywhere. It is vitally important to define your goals and have them close to you.” At Enterprise for Equity, “I got to hear other people’s versions of what they’re doing. I realized the amount of time I needed to give to my business, especially the marketing end of things, and now I’m more focused than I’ve ever been.” Enterprise for Equity Graduate