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 Community Business Academy allows new or growing businesses to engage with like-minded community members and leaders and build a network of support and accountability.
The Spring 2020 CBA began February 18th with classes held on Tuesday evenings, 6 – 9 p.m. on Reynolds Ave in North Charleston. Classes are currently being held remotely or are postponed until further notice due to COVID-19. The program director is keeping all current participants informed. Questions can be directed to Raquel@lowcountrylocalfirst.org.
The Fall 2020 CBA will have both a morning and an evening class. The evening CBA classes will be held on Tuesdays from 6 – 9 p.m. and the morning CBA classes will be held on Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Classes will begin in August and run through November. In order to apply for the 2020 Community Business Academy classes, entrepreneurs must first complete the interest form. Upon completion, you will be invited to attend an information session.
Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all information sessions are on hold. Check back here for updates. All who complete the interest form will be kept informed.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 this program inquiry form and we’ll contact you with upcoming information sessions.