About the Community Business Academy

Learn how to start or grow a successful business

The Community Business Academy (CBA) is a 12-week course offering hands-on training in business planning and management. The robust curriculum guides entrepreneurs through all elements of a business plan through interactive business simulation exercises and hands-on training. Classes are taught by experienced entrepreneurs who are equipped to share their real-life experiences along the way. Beyond the curriculum, the CBA allows new or growing businesses to engage with like-minded community members and leaders and build a network of support and accountability.

Now enrolling for the Fall 2024 Community Business Academy.
Ready to get started? Fill out the Program Inquiry Form below and attend a virtual information session in order to apply.

Classes are held August 21 – November 12, 2024
Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Public Works Art Center
135 W Richardson Ave, Summerville, SC 29483

Choose 1 Mandatory Information Session:

Space is limited.  Scholarships are available. All experience levels welcomed.


How do I know if the Community Business Academy is right for me?

  • Do you have a passion to start your own business?
  • Do you have a strong business idea, and experience in your chosen industry?
  • Do you own a business, but think you could be more successful if you learned how to better manage it?

If you answered YES to any of these questions then the CBA will help you jumpstart your vision of business ownership. Examples of the kinds of businesses who can benefit from this program include manufacturing startups, technology, product development, food & beverage, personal and professional services, and other common business sectors.

What is the cost?

Tuition for the Community Business Academy is valued at $3,000 per student. Thanks to our generous supporters and donors, tuition is waived for every student accepted into the program. All participants, however, must pay a small materials and registration fee towards the course. Based on your household income, your fees are calculated on a sliding scale ranging from $150 to $375. Additional financial aid is available for those who qualify.

What is class like?

Our curriculum is based on Adult Participatory Learning methodology, which means that we place an emphasis in hands-on, experiential learning and reinforcement of key concepts; through guided exercises, business simulations, field trips, and group discussion. You’ll be immersed in a community of entrepreneurs where you’ll learn as much from your instructor as you do from your classmates. You’ll also have a lot of fun testing your business ideas in a safe space with people who become invested in your success.

What will I learn?

The homework assigned in class is designed to help you gather the basic information required in a business plan. You work actively on planning for your own business by learning how to answer the most important questions:

  • Who are my customers?
  • What should I charge?
  • What are my costs?
  • How much money will I make?
  • How can I beat my competition?
  • How much money do I need to get started?
  • Where can I get the money I need?
  • How do I register my business?

By graduation, you will be able to write a basic business plan answering these questions and more.

Who are the instructors?

Our instructors all actively own or run small businesses, and have been through an intensive training program geared towards maximizing their experience as entrepreneurs in teaching small business concepts.

What do graduates receive?

Entrepreneurs who complete the program receive:

  • A certificate of graduation from the Community Business Academy
  • An individualized Action Plan outlining “next steps” to help meet their business goals
  • Discounted and exclusive enrollment in Business Acceleration Services
  • Graduates join our alumni network of Good Enterprises Entrepreneurs

What are the next steps?

In order to be accepted into the Community Business Academy, you must first register to attend a free information session. Attendance at this session is mandatory in order to receive an application for the CBA. Fill out the program inquiry form and we’ll contact you with upcoming information sessions.

Getting Started is Easy:

Step 1: Fill out the Program Inquiry Form

Step 2: Attend an Information Session

Step 3: Apply for Community Business Academy

Interested in learning more about the Community Business Academy?

Fill out the inquiry form to attend one of our free information sessions.