Workshops for new, established businesses offered by WMU center

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Photo of young entrepreneurs.

Register by 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7.

KALAMAZOO—Entrepreneurs creating a business and those who have already started one can get the new year off on the right foot by taking part in workshops offered by the Small Business and Technology Development Center located at Western Michigan University.

The workshops, for both prospective and established business owners, are being offered in WMU's Schneider Hall.

Venture Plan

A Venture Plan workshop for new entrepreneurs begins with an orientation from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, in Room 1455 of Schneider Hall. The eight-week workshop continues from 5 to 8 p.m. each Tuesday from Jan. 15 through March 5.

Venture Plan is an intensive program that will help those who attend evaluate business opportunities and develop an action plan for running their own business. The Venture Plan orientation will outline the workshop and review materials, as well as let attendees meet facilitators and ask questions.

David Begnoche, a December 2012 Venture Plan graduate, says the Venture Plan workshop was a big help to him. Begnoche is a veteran and was able to attend the workshop with a center veteran scholarship at no cost.

"Venture Plan is invaluable," Begnoche says. "It's a partnership with a business think tank. The Small Business and Technology Development Center takes business operations seriously, and I truly believe if the planning steps they teach are followed and you seek their guidance, like a doctor's checkup, you will be profitable and successful."

Venture Forward

A second workshop, called Venture Forward, is being offered to more established business owners. It runs 8 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays, Jan. 22 through March 12, also in Room 1455 of Schneider Hall.

Those attending the eight-week workshop will have the opportunity to enhance their current business model and operational structure to position the organization for growth. In-depth analysis of the current strategic plan and company financials are used to assist the business owner in developing a feasible direction to move forward with. Existing businesses owners will learn how to build a plan that is compelling, using sound industry research, marketing strategy, comprehensive financials and a platform for growing their operation.

"We are very excited to offer programs like these to business owners throughout Southwest Michigan," says Tamara Davis, Small Business Technology and Development Center regional director. "It provides them the opportunity to work on their business instead of always working in the business. Numerous healthy small businesses have started and prospered as a result of these two programs."

To register

The registration deadline for both the Venture Plan and Venture Forward workshops is 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7. The cost of each workshop for the general public is $180, which includes all books, materials and parking. They are free for veterans and current WMU students with proper documentation. The cost is usually $700, but thanks to the Michigan State University Broadband grant award, the fee has been reduced to $180 per participant.

To register for either workshop, call (269) 387-6004, email sbtdc-kzoo@wmich.edu or visit misbtdc.org/contact-us/regional-center/southwest-michigan-region.