The Shenandoah School of Business recently received a grant to establish an Entrepreneurship and Small Business Certificate program in an effort to create local jobs and help Winchester bounce back from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The low-cost program will be held during summer 2021 and will target college and post-college students and entrepreneurs from the greater Winchester area, with 51% of participant slots reserved for aspiring entrepreneurs from low- and moderate-income and underserved communities. The program will help current and future business owners and those who have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis and its accompanying economic downturn.
The $50,000 grant was secured by Montressa Washington, Ph.D., assistant professor of management and the director of Shenandoah University Institute for Entrepreneurship.
This is an opportunity for students and the community to interact in an environment to increase their entrepreneurship knowledge and harness their entrepreneurial spirit,” Dr. Washington said. “Participants can explore ideas that both make the community better and propel them into financial independence.”
Montressa Washington, Ph.D
The grant is funded by the Truist Foundation, which was formed by BB&T and SunTrust.
The entrepreneurship program will be designed for flexible delivery platforms such as face-to-face, and synchronous and asynchronous online. Participants will strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and be prepared to be up and running as a business owner at the end of the course.
Course content includes guest lectures from experienced business professionals on topics such as acquiring funding for small businesses; fundamentals of business law; important accounting principles; social media marketing tactics; understanding business insurance and the risks, benefits, opportunities, and drawbacks of being an entrepreneur; development of a sales strategy; instruction on how to interpret basic financial statements, and more.
There will also be networking with local entrepreneurs, the Small Business Administration and county and state officials; mentoring and coaching from local and experienced entrepreneurs; an Entrepreneurship and Small Business Certification (ESB) exam and certificate credential; and an Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile®, which is an assessment tool that identifies how individuals use their “entrepreneurial mindset” and provides them with resources to leverage this.
The event will conclude with a pitch competition for participants to channel their inner “Shark Tank” ambitions, with opportunities to win cash prizes for top business ideas.
We’re hopeful to get a variety of entrepreneurs, from solo entrepreneurs to small business owners to rural entrepreneurs,” Washington said. “Stay tuned for more information.”
Applications will be made available in Spring 2021.