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Community Entrepreneurship Program

Supporting Aspiring Twin Cities Entrepreneurs

The Community Entrepreneurship Program is a 10-month, hands-on program for any community member facing economic hardship who has a dream of starting and growing a business, including those who have already started a venture but need help to grow. Whether you have an idea for a business or have already started a venture but are struggling, this program is for you. The Community Entrepreneurship program supports entrepreneurs through:

  • Six-week business training bootcamp
  • One-on-one mentorship
  • Consulting support
  • Connections to community resources
  • Micro-grant program
  • Networking opportunities

This program is being offered in conjunction with the University of St. Thomas, Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, and Small Business Development Center.

Contact

Small Business Development Center

Program overview

  • Program Timeline
  • Saturday Bootcamps
  • Mentorship program
  • Student consulting program
  • Connection to community resources
  • Program Timeline

    March-April 2022: 6 Saturday bootcamps from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Allina Health
    • Saturday, March 5
    • Saturday, March 12
    • Saturday, March 19
    • Saturday, March 26
    • Saturday, April 2
    • Saturday, April 9

    April-September 2022: Mentorship program

    September-December 2022: Student consulting program

    Saturday Bootcamps

    At the Saturday Bootcamps, you’ll be introduced to basic tools, concepts, and principles relevant to launching and growing a successful venture. The training runs from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. each Saturday. Each weekly module has three components:

    1. Coverage of core content, tools and framework from 8:30-11 a.m.
    2. An interview of two entrepreneurs that focuses their experiences with the content just covered from 11 a.m. until 12 noon.
    3. A presentation by a subject matter expert on a specialty topic from 12 noon until 1 p.m.

    The topics that will be covered include:

    The Entrepreneurial Process, Skills, and Competencies; Types of Ventures; Understanding the Numbers; Planning, Thinking Strategically and Managing Risk; Getting Resources When You Do Not Have any Money; Identifying, Communicating With and Selling to Customers; Operations and Other Fundamentals

    Mentorship program

    Entrepreneurs who complete the training segment of the program will receive a mentor who is a successful entrepreneur and, where possible, has experiences related to the type of business the entrepreneur is working on.

    Mentoring begins two weeks after the completion of bootcamps and continues for 6 months.The mentors serve as advisors and connect the entrepreneurs to the wider business community and networks. Mentors and mentees will meet every other week to review progress against goals set during the bootcamps.

    Additionally, an ‘expertise pool’ of mentors is available with advice on specific problem areas.

    Student consulting program

    Entrepreneurs who successfully complete all bootcamps and regularly interact with their mentors will be eligible to participate in the student consulting course.

    This 14-week course will build on the work of the mentors and provide additional assistance with on-the-ground tasks like creating websites, registering businesses, developing a social media presence, setting up bookkeeping systems and so forth.

    Connection to community resources

    Through three community networking events held throughout the year, entrepreneurs will share their ventures with the community and through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at St. Thomas, entrepreneurs will be connected to helpful resources.

    Program Timeline

    March-April 2022: 6 Saturday bootcamps from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Allina Health
    • Saturday, March 5
    • Saturday, March 12
    • Saturday, March 19
    • Saturday, March 26
    • Saturday, April 2
    • Saturday, April 9

    April-September 2022: Mentorship program

    September-December 2022: Student consulting program

    Saturday Bootcamps

    At the Saturday Bootcamps, you’ll be introduced to basic tools, concepts, and principles relevant to launching and growing a successful venture. The training runs from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. each Saturday. Each weekly module has three components:

    1. Coverage of core content, tools and framework from 8:30-11 a.m.
    2. An interview of two entrepreneurs that focuses their experiences with the content just covered from 11 a.m. until 12 noon.
    3. A presentation by a subject matter expert on a specialty topic from 12 noon until 1 p.m.

    The topics that will be covered include:

    The Entrepreneurial Process, Skills, and Competencies; Types of Ventures; Understanding the Numbers; Planning, Thinking Strategically and Managing Risk; Getting Resources When You Do Not Have any Money; Identifying, Communicating With and Selling to Customers; Operations and Other Fundamentals

    Mentorship program

    Entrepreneurs who complete the training segment of the program will receive a mentor who is a successful entrepreneur and, where possible, has experiences related to the type of business the entrepreneur is working on.

    Mentoring begins two weeks after the completion of bootcamps and continues for 6 months.The mentors serve as advisors and connect the entrepreneurs to the wider business community and networks. Mentors and mentees will meet every other week to review progress against goals set during the bootcamps.

    Additionally, an ‘expertise pool’ of mentors is available with advice on specific problem areas.

    Student consulting program

    Entrepreneurs who successfully complete all bootcamps and regularly interact with their mentors will be eligible to participate in the student consulting course.

    This 14-week course will build on the work of the mentors and provide additional assistance with on-the-ground tasks like creating websites, registering businesses, developing a social media presence, setting up bookkeeping systems and so forth.

    Connection to community resources

    Through three community networking events held throughout the year, entrepreneurs will share their ventures with the community and through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at St. Thomas, entrepreneurs will be connected to helpful resources.

    Registration and Fees

    Register: To register, please fill out our online registration form. Register early as seats are limited.

    Program fee: $500 for Bootcamp*
    *$475 scholarships available to everyone with financial need.

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    Join as a mentor

    We believe local business leaders play an important role in helping aspiring entrepreneurs succeed. We are looking for business owners who would like to:

    • Serve as mentors for one of the entrepreneurs, or in a general expertise pool
    • Donate or share resources from their businesses to help these entrepreneurs establish & grow ventures
    • Get involved in some capacity

    If you're interested in getting involved or have questions, please fill out our online mentor application