A ground-breaking course designed to help Peterborough area entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running is drawing rave reviews from its first cohort of 21 participants.
The four week course, The Path to Building a Successful Business, was the brainchild of the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster’s program officer, Carey McMaster, who sensed a need among the community’s fledgling entrepreneurs, and worked to fill it.
“Nobody in the community was offering structured training that flowed in a nice, even timeline. There was no clear series out there that went through every little piece of building your business,” stated McMaster.
Participants were enthusiastic in their praise for the course. “My favourite part of this course was that it helped me to become clear on exactly what value I bring to my customers. It helped me identify exactly who my customers are and then showed me how to marry my products and services to their needs. I learned how crucial this is to the success of any business,” said Lisa Robbins, CEO, Robbins & Co. Website Design and Support.
“A community formed around the table during the four weeks we were together. We laughed a lot, got clear about our businesses and formed supportive relationships.”
McMaster says she got the idea for the course after years of experience working one on one with aspiring entrepreneurs. “It became clear that individuals were very familiar with their product and service, but didn’t have the knowledge, skills or experience to run and operate their business successfully.”
Over the four weeks, participants develop a business model canvas, (a new visual short and simple form of business plan that helps them to clarify their business model). “They also focus on identifying their minimum product or service required to get their business to the marketplace,” says Rosalea Terry,GPIC’s Entrepreneurship & Marketing Coordinator. Other topics covered are market intelligence, legal considerations, marketing, distribution channels, funding sources and pitching to investors.
The course is four weeks long, with two three hour sessions per week. Participants are expected to make a commitment to attend every session. McMaster notes, “This is not a drop in.”
The next series starts on April 26, 2016 and both McMaster and Terry, who teaches part of the hands-on course, say they expect it will fill up quickly.
Says participant Jessica Correa of Peterborough Random Acts of Green, “The Path to Building a Successful Business was probably one of the most useful courses I have ever taken. This course was a one-way ticket to know the basics and help me realize what it takes to have an idea, turn it into a business, and take it to market.”
The course is designed for any start-up and is not restricted to Cube and FastStart clients. Innovation Cluster and ‘Cube’ clients attend for free, and FastStart clients have their tuition paid by the program. For members of the public the cost is $249 for the series.