Entrepreneurs can gain foundational skills with new 12-week training

Entrepreneurs can gain foundational skills with new 12-week training Main Photo

23 Feb 2024

Training, Equitable Economic Development, Small Business

First cohort to be offered in Spanish 


EDASC is excited to offer Startup School, Escuela para Comenzar un Negocio, to entrepreneurs throughout Skagit County and across the state.

Whether entrepreneurs are just starting out or looking to gain skills for a business they already have, the 12-week Startup School provides foundational learning that is right for any skill level or background.

Startup School is a partnership between EDASC and the My Own Business Institute (MOBI) at Santa Clara University, with support from RAIN Catalysts, SBDC Washington, and Skagit Valley College. EDASC developed the program and engaged MOBI to provide the online curriculum. SBDC advisors serve as facilitators for the weekly coursework, and EDASC and RAIN bring the participants.  

The first cohort of Startup School, starting March 14, will be offered in Spanish. A second cohort will be offered in English starting in September. The course is offered at no cost thanks to the endowment that supports MOBI and will be offered virtually throughout the state thanks to SBDC Washington.

EDASC’s Equitable Economic Development Manager Jorge Estefan says that in his work with the Latino community he finds people are more inclined to participate and be engaged with an in-person format. This program offers the best of both worlds in that the core curriculum is offered online, and then each week participants have the opportunity to gather in person at Skagit Valley College, or virtually, to ask questions of the SBDC advisors.

“We are hopeful the camaraderie of the in-person sessions develops community for the participants and motivates them to stay engaged throughout the course,” Estefan said.  

Participants will benefit from a comprehensive curriculum that covers all essential areas for starting and running a business. Each session features a guest speaker in the week's subject matter area, providing real-life, practical advice.  This unique learning opportunity equips participants to make informed decisions and start their ventures.  

The program offers 12 sessions on various aspects of starting and running a business, catering specifically to Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs and focusing on flexibility and tailored learning.  

Weekly sessions run from March 14 through to June 13, 2024, from 6-7:30 p.m. Each session, detailed below, lasts for 1.5 hours, and is designed to provide participants with comprehensive knowledge and practical skills in key areas of entrepreneurship:  

The Program Introduction (March 14) is an optional introductory session that sets the stage for an enriching learning experience. Participants receive an overview of the program, its expectations, and meet the experienced facilitators, fostering a foundation for networking and collaboration.  

  1. Choosing the Right Business (March 21): Shares a step-by-step approach to selecting the best business, identifying common mistakes, and providing tools for maximizing success.  
  2. The Business Plan (March 28): Participants learn about the key elements of a business plan, its uses, and best practices for writing one.  
  3. Freelance, Independent, and Home-Based Business (April 11): Explores businesses that don’t rely on physical space, focusing on freelance, independent, and home-based businesses. Includes a readiness checklist.  
  4. Business Organization (April 18 - Skipping April 4th): Covers decisions on partnership, business organization types, and necessary professional resources.  
  5. Licenses and Permits (April 25): Understand the need for business-specific licenses and permits and the importance of legal advice.  
  6. Financing the Business (May 2): Learn about financing sources and how to manage them.  
  7. Accounting and Cash Flow (May 9): Understand financial tracking, accounting, and cash flow management.  
  8. Microfinance for Entrepreneurs (May 16): Discuss microfinance as a funding option and the importance of professional advice.  
  9. Ecommerce (May 23): Learn about setting up an ecommerce presence and selling through various online channels.  
  10. Marketing (May 30): Understand market research, business naming, traditional and digital marketing strategies.  
  11. Communication Tools (June 6): Overview of communication forms, tools, and resources essential for businesses.  
  12. Develop Negotiating Skills (June13): Understand the importance of negotiating skills and strategies for effective negotiation.  

To learn more about Startup School or to register for this no-cost program, contact Jorge Estefan at 360-639-4515 or jorge@skagit.org