FastTrac® LaunchPad training aimed at starting or retooling businesses in Michigan
Brian J. Bowe, (616) 331-2221 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Deamud, (616) 331-7482 or email@example.com
(GRAND RAPIDS, MI – June 17, 2009) — In response to record unemployment rates in Michigan, the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is making FastTrac® entrepreneurship training available for those interested in starting a new business or retooling an existing business that is struggling in the current economy.
Research indicates that workers are receptive to starting a new business during a recession. In recognition of the current economic climate in which layoffs are growing throughout the state, Michigan is developing the first state-wide effort to advance entrepreneurship, the creation of new businesses and new jobs for the state. The Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center is working with the Kauffman Foundation and the Deluxe Corporation Foundation to offer the FastTrac® LaunchPad entrepreneurial training program in 12 regions across the state. The program is designed for workers who have lost their jobs or entrepreneurs whose small businesses are challenged by the current economy. Michigan is developing the first statewide effort, along with several cities and communities across the nation, that will be using the FastTrac® LaunchPad programs to encourage new businesses and job creation.
"By hosting the FastTrac® LaunchPad program, we are providing an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to hone the skills needed to create, manage and grow a successful business during a challenging economy," said Carol Lopucki, State Director of the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center.
"Michigan’s small business owners and entrepreneurs are among our greatest assets," Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Greg Main said. "Empowering them to achieve their dreams is a key component in our strategy to strengthen and diversify the state’s economy."
Entrepreneurs statewide can now enroll in one of the two the FastTrac® LaunchPad programs. FastTrac® NewVenture offers training and education focused on exploring the start-up of a business; and FastTrac® GrowthVenture helps current business owners learn how to best navigate the challenges of their existing small business. These FastTrac® LaunchPad programs are condensed versions the program, offered in an eight-week program, instead of the normal ten-week schedule.
FastTrac® NewVenture focuses on displaced workers seeking an alternative to finding another job. During the eight-week course, entrepreneurs will evaluate the feasibility of their business concept, make many contacts, including peers, resources and mentors, and learn how to start profitable small businesses, attract new clients or customers, retain employees, and improve service and product offerings.
FastTrac® GrowthVenture is beneficial for small business owners facing reduced sales, a shrinking customer base or limited financing options. The curriculum will help entrepreneurs analyze their business model and evaluate market opportunities to streamline operations and maximize cash flow.
"The Kauffman Foundation is focused on turning a negative situation – being laid off or facing challenges as a business owner – into a positive opportunity through the FastTrac® LaunchPad programs," said Monica Doss, Kauffman Foundation’s director of FastTrac® programs. "Though workers and businesses are facing many challenges, this environment is ripe for entrepreneurship, which will play a key role in the strengthening and rebound of Michigan’s and the American economy. The FastTrac® LaunchPad programs offer an incredible opportunity for communities across Michigan and their local entrepreneurs and small business owners."
The Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center provides counseling, training and advocacy for Michigan’s new business ventures, existing small businesses, expanding new businesses and new technology companies. The SBTDC will be offering the FastTrac® LaunchPad programs statewide. To register for a program or for more information, please visit www.misbtdc.org or call 616.331.7480.
MI-SBTDC Region 7 has already completed two NewVenture programs in Ottawa county, 17 participants have already launched a new business and 45 participants are preparing to launch. "When I took the class I wasn’t sure if I was ready to start my own business. The program helped me focus on one of my business ideas, and it allowed me to test my business plan with professionals and participants in the class," stated Raymond Nowak, now owner of a computer repair service for residential and small businesses called Fast Teks. "The NewVenture program gave me confidence and tools to start my own business."
A NewVenture program is starting in Grand Rapids on July 8th at Grand Valley State University. The eight-week program is expected to fill to capacity at 40 participants from Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties with a majority of participants from the recent General Motors layoff.
Through this FastTrac® LaunchPad program, Michigan is working to increase the number of entrepreneurs who start new businesses and create new jobs in this state, thus retaining highly trained talent in Michigan. A Kauffman Foundation-funded U.S. Census Bureau study released in January reports that startup companies are a major contributor to job creation. The Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) also indicate that while business startups decline slightly in most of the cyclical downturns, startups remain robust even in the most severe recession over the sample period (in the early 1980s).
Nearly 300,000 entrepreneurs have participated in FastTrac® programs throughout the United States. It’s a program of the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation, the largest organization in the nation solely focused on entrepreneurial success at all levels.
The FastTrac® LaunchPad program is a joint initiative of the Kauffman Foundation and the Deluxe Corporation Foundation. For more information about the FastTrac® LaunchPad Program, please visit www.FastTrac.org.
About the MI-SBTDC
The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center provides counseling, training and advocacy for Michigan’s new business ventures, existing small businesses, expanding new businesses, new technology companies, and innovators. The MI-SBTDC is located at the Grand Valley State University Seidman College of Business in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As host of the MI-SBTDC State Headquarters, the Seidman College of Business oversees the twelve-region MI-SBTDC network. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest MI-SBTDC by calling (616) 331.7480 or visiting www.misbtdc.org.