One look at Flagstaff’s bustling downtown on each First Friday of the month, and I am reminded how small businesses contribute to personal wealth and job creation. Looking statewide, according to the latest U.S. Census data, small businesses in Arizona employed over two-fifths of the state’s private workforce in 2012, or 955,194 workers. This is one of the reasons Coconino County Community Services Department, a Community Action Agency, launched the Basic Business Empowerment Program in spring 2007.
We’re happy to announce that this business feasibility plan development training has been improved by utilizing LivePlan and HP LIFE web-based software and curricula to bolster the creation of business plans and build business tracking skills.
In addition to these improvements, the Basic Business Empowerment program continues to provide guest speaker opportunities to Flagstaff business owners who share real-world business experience and expertise. They share their thoughts and experience on business law, insurance, market and competitor analysis, social media and more with program participants interested in hearing practical examples of successes and lessons.
Also, once someone graduates from the 12-week program, our Small Business Development Center reviews business plans for graduates who are eligible for participation in the County’s Individual Development Account (IDA) match savings grant program. This program is a special bank account for qualifying lower-income/lower asset participants who save their earned income for post-secondary education or small business start-ups or expansions. About half of the participants in our current Basic Business Empowerment training (which concludes mid-November), are potentially eligible to proceed to the IDA program.
Our next small business development training is scheduled for spring 2016 (Jan. 5-March 22), but trainings are also planned for next summer and fall. All are 12-week (36 hours), classroom-based, and held at the County Health and Community Services Building, 2625 N. King St., Flagstaff (one block east of Fourth St., north of 7th Ave.).
Class size is limited to 12 participants and our registration fee is only $125, so if you think Basic Business Empowerment could help you, please reserve your seat for the next class by calling or emailing Norma Gallegos (928-679-747430; firstname.lastname@example.org), assistant director, Coconino County Community Services. Or, for more information, visit the County Webpage at www.coconino.az.gov/bbe. FBN
By Cynthia Seelhammer, Manager of Coconino County