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Rural Entrepreneurship Workshops

Posted By Melissa Garcia , Thursday, January 29, 2009
Updated: Friday, January 30, 2009
Mid-Plains Community College, NE - $5,000 to develop entrepreneurship workshops in rural community based on a model with innovative combinations of learning tools, technology, and partnerships.

Tags:  Coleman  Mid-Plains Community College 

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Matthew R. Montoya says...
Posted Monday, February 2, 2009
Proposal can be found here
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Melissa Garcia says...
Posted Monday, February 9, 2009
We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with the Coleman Foundation to reach out and give a hand up to entrepreneurs in our rural region. Our workshop series will begin this Fall, but we are moving ahead full force with marketing. We have made initial contacts with area economic development leaders in the communities we hope to target, have set up the logistics of the course itsself and put together marketing pieces to begin circulating to referrals and referral sources.
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Melissa Garcia says...
Posted Monday, March 9, 2009
During National Entrepreneurship Week we were fortunate enough to be able to help host a two day conference for entrepreneurs. The Center For Rural Affairs Marketplace Conference gave us a great avenue to share the message about our upcoming trainings. We were able to present during a breakout session to approximately 50 people as well as have an exhibit booth to meet or follow up with other interested parties. The conference attendence was nearly 600 entrepreneurs, students and service providers.

Some major accomplishments from the day included signing up our first participants, beginning a partnership to take the training into a high school's student run business program to extend Entrepreneurship into a career pathway and solidifying a partnership with a satelite community.

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Melissa Garcia says...
Posted Tuesday, April 7, 2009
As of today we have 5 participants signed up for our August "Level One: Test Drive Your Idea" workshop. This workshop focuses on opportunity analysis and is a pre-requisition for "Level Two: Plan for Success" where the student builds a business plan and financial projections. We have 2 satellite communities on board, with the potential addition of a a third. We also have our business coaches lined up for the committed communities and are excited to say that they are 2 CPAs, a bank president and a small business attorney.

The potential fourth site is a high school that works through a grant to hire its own students for the summer to work at Schoolhouse Signs, a vinyl signage business run by the students. Part of the process involves dual credit classes in various design courses, the job application process and now building a business plan! They will be taking Level One as part of their summer employment with an option of moving on with Level Two.
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Melissa Garcia says...
Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009
As I mentioned in April, we had a nice turn of events and had an opportunity to work with a group of 8 high school students who run a student owned business. Yesterday we wrapped up Level 1, which is the feasiblity piece. The students had an expanded knowledge of the trade the work in, but have never had experience focusing on business planning. It was a lot of fun to take them though a personal vision, business concept and feasbility check against a model business. The group walked away with a better understanding of the need to plan- and ideas they can implement into the business.
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Melissa Garcia says...
Posted Thursday, August 6, 2009
Level 1: Test Drive Your Idea begins August 22 and as of today we have 11 businesses enrolled in the program. Level 1 is two consecutive Saturdays, and from its completion the businesses make the decision to move on to Leve 2: Plan For Success. There they complete the business plan and financial projections. Using distance technology we are able to serve these participants from 7 communities without having to ask them to commute further than 20 miles. If we were not able to reap the benefits of distance learning these businesses would be driving anywhere from 74 to 120 miles one way.

On August 27 we will hold our Business Coach Training. At this time the entrepreneurship coaches, who will be located in our satellite communities, will be trained on the technology and templates used in the course as well as general coaching techniques. The coaches are a vital role in the program as they will provide written feedback each week on the business plans as they are developed and help the participants create a local support network.
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Melissa Garcia says...
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009
We have completed Level 1 and will be having our second session of Level 2: Plan for Success on Thursday, September 10. We have 7 businesses (all but one of the businesses that completed Level 1) sticking in for this portion of the course. The instructor is very excited about the participants and the quality of the entrepreneurs taking part.

Recently, we have had the privilege of becoming a member of a multi-state alliance. The group is comprised of service providers who serve very similar rural regions. During our second meeting this week we had an opportunity to showcase this program- which we now call ADVANCE Business (Alliance for Developing Vision and Nurturing Capable Entrepreneurs) as an option as a hybrid as we are offering it now, and as an on-line, open enrollment option. As we have uploaded the video of each class, the need for a instructor diminishes as long as the participant has a local coach to critique their "homework" or plan as they build it using the videos and on-line curriculum. Within the alliance, the Economic Development Directors agreed that that roll could fall under their job description, and were excited to promote the program in their area. We look forward to see where this could take the program in the near future.
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