A New Program for Small Business Training and Support
ASSETS Elkhart County, is new program that will soon be empowering small scale entrepreneurs in our area. ASSETS (A Service for Self Employment Training and Support) has been successfully helping people turn their dream of self employment into reality in ten other locations across the nation. ASSETS is a business development program designed to assist low to moderate income entrepreneurs in achieving their dreams of starting or expanding their own businesses. The model integrates business training with individual coaching, assistance in arranging business loans, networking opportunities and business mentoring.
The training portion of the program is a 10 week / 21 session series of practical, experienced-based workshops that walk the entrepreneur through the process of planning for a business launch or expansion. Classes are taught by volunteer business people and professionals who draw on their own experience to help entrepreneurs apply business concepts to the specific needs of their own businesses. Instructors will be encouraged to share the importance of faith and a high standard of ethics and values in their business practice and in the specific aspect of business about which they are teaching.
The ASSETS Elkhart County will offer the training series three times per year. The first training session will begin on Jan. 20. Classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Lexington Business Center, 530 East Lexington in Elkhart, near the Martins supermarket on East Jackson. People interested in participating in the ASSETS program will need to attend one of two orientations at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs. Jan. 8 or Tue. Jan. 13 at the Lexington Business Center. A registration fee of $15 will be due at the Orientation. The fee for the course is on a sliding scale from $30 to $300. The first training will be given in English but plans are underway for the addition of courses delivered in Spanish.
Over the course of the workshops, participants develop their own business plan. Upon graduation, their completed business plan will serve as a blueprint for their business as well as being a tool in seeking financing. Graduates have access to on-going services to assist them with specific issues such as finding the financing they need. ASSETS graduates also can receive mentoring from a volunteer business person in the community for six months. Alumni groups meet regularly for additional training and support.
The ASSETS model was developed by Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), a Christian non-profit organization dedicated to working with communities around the world. ASSETS programs - including ASSETS Elkhart County - are autonomous from MEDA and are committed to diverse community involvement and support. While ASSETS Elkhart County is a faith-based program, it does not exclude any participant based on religious affiliation.
Please contact ASSETS Elkhart County if you have a dream of becoming self employed or already operate a small business and want to strengthen and expand that business. We would also be grateful for anyone who helps spread the word about this program to others who might benefit form the program. We are also looking for experienced business persons who would consider being a mentor for an ASSETS graduate of the program for half a year. The ASSETS Elkhart County Executive Director is willing to speak about this program in churches community groups.