2023 $1,000 Start-Ups Program Overview
The program begins Wednesday, May 10th, and ends January 27, 2024.
The entrepreneurship, financial management, and life skills program takes the cohort through every step of starting and growing a successful small business.
The 26 sessions are one-hour and taught on Zoom. We meet Wednesday evenings from 5:30-6:30 and Saturday mornings from 10-11. The sessions alternate between course material and homework presentations that allow the cohort members to not only learn from the material, but from each other.
The material for each session is recorded, in videos that are typically about 15 minutes long. This allows cohort members who miss a class to have the information needed to do their homework.
We don’t meet on holiday weekends or on weekends when there are major vendor opportunities for cohort members to display. Between Thanksgiving week and New Year we have guest speakers at the Wednesday night Zoom, but there is no homework assigned.
The program includes four small business fairs. The first is the Prototype fair that allows the cohort to test the marketability of their products or services in a small Venue with friends, family, former graduates, donors, and supporters.
The other three small business fairs include area small businesses who we invite to display with us at no cost to allow the cohort to learn from established businesses, grow their network, increase their customer base and revenue, and bring money into the community.
There’s no cost for the program. Cohort members in good standing are reimbursed up to $1,000 business start-up or growth funding. To be in good standing all homework must be completed and up to date.
The enrollment process includes an interview with the lead instructor, Leah Ward-Lee. During this interview we set the expectation that the cohort member will have a means of support while they start and grow their business. We also learn where each cohort member is in their start-up journey so we can do our best to help each person be successful.
After the interview the candidate receives an agreement that spells out our expectations of them, what triggers funding, and what she can expect from us. It’s important that cohort members understand we will never ask them for money or for an ownership stake in their business.