Partners join to help launch entrepreneurs

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BENNINGTON — There's a myth that to be an entrepreneur you have to have money, connections, and a full-blown business plan. The Community College of Vermont and the Lightning Jar are teaming up to offer a new program for budding entrepreneurs to show them that it's not always the case.

The program, called Start-Up 802, consists of one eight-week class and one seven-week class this fall to help potential entrepreneurs of any age learn about what they must do to be successful. Students can choose to take one or both classes.

On Wednesday, an information session open to the public will be held at The Lightning Jar at 5:30 p.m. so potential students can meet the teachers and learn more about the programs. A financial aid counselor and members of the sponsors' steering committee will also be present.

The first class, which offers one college credit, is called "An Entrepreneurial Mindset." According to Coordinator of Academic Services at CCV Nicole Stetson, this course will help students get in the proper mindset they need to succeed as well as begin to build a foundation for their business plan.

"It's meant to get people exploring what is an entrepreneurial mindset," Steson said.

The course includes video tutorials hosted by entrepreneurs throughout the country, as well as discussion and reflection among students. Students are prompted to think about what makes these entrepreneurs successful as well as observe how they face obstacles.

The second course, which lasts seven weeks and offers three college credits, will "take students to the next level," Stetson said.

This course will show how to create a solid business plan.

Some students are taking these courses as part of a degree plan, while others are using it for continuing education. So far, 10 people have signed up. A maximum of 15 can be in each class.

Students have access to financial aid opportunities, however Stetson says the classes are "not wildly expensive." Each credit costs $268 plus applicable registration fees.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center also provided scholarship money to allow interested high school students to participate in the program.

In addition to the classes, participants will receive a trial membership to The Lightning Jar and access to mentorship from community business leaders and entrepreneurs.

"We all know the creative economy is growing and it's a big part of our community," Stetson said.

Classes:

"An Entrepreneurial Mindset"

Sept. 5-Oct. 24

Wednesdays 6-8 p.m.

"New Topics in Business Venturing"

Oct. 31-Dec. 12

Wednesdays 6-9 p.m.

Christie Wisniewski can be reached at cwisniewski@benningtonbanner.com and at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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