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published on January 13, 2022 - 11:47 AM
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Those ready to launch their local business dreams into the clouds are invited to check out a program sponsored by the Center for Community Transformation at Fresno Pacific University.

Launch Central Valley is a 10-week small business start-up boot camp providing direction, instruction and coaching from business experts in marketing, sales, finance and dealing with attorneys, accountants and government officials. Weekly sessions will be from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursdays from Jan. 27 through March 24 via Zoom.

Entrepreneurs will meet online via Zoom, and will have the option of getting personal coaching in person or virtually throughout the course. Get more information and register here.

“This program provides a micro-enterprise solution for people in need, and the mentoring to pull it off,” says Randy White, D.Min., executive director of CCT, and associate professor at FPU.

The 12 participants in 2020’s first cohort launched eight new micro-businesses, and cohorts since quickly filled up with others eager to do the same. Plans are for Launch Central Valley to assist more than 300 area entrepreneurs to get businesses thriving over the next five years, financed by nearly $1 million from the Lilly Endowment. So far, CCT has worked with 72 startups, helping start and/or scale 56 of those.

Tabitha Sullivan, who started Tab’s Bookkeeping in 2020 in Fresno, was in the first cohort. She found it most helpful to learn about marketing, which is vital to success but something she knew little about.

“The networking in the cohort was big for me, too,” Sullivan says. “You could say, ‘I’m struggling with an issue right now,’ and you knew the others were dealing with it, too, had dealt with it or would deal with it in the future. It definitely built my confidence.”

Successful small businesses are vital both to the region’s economic base and progress in areas such as literacy rates. “Flourishing families contribute to flourishing communities and a host of positive social indicators,” White says. “When we seek the financial peace of the family, we experience the benefits of that peace.”

Check out a recent TV piece on Launch Central Valley by clicking here.

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