by Herb Amey and Linda Knopp
Alicia Diozzi was facing a dilemma: She knew she wanted to operate a tutoring business, but she didn’t know where to start. The Enterprise Center at Salem State College in Salem, Mass., helped her find the answers.
“There was a class about choosing to buy a franchise or starting from scratch,” Diozzi says. She attended the class, which the mixed-use incubator presented as one of its free workshops for small business owners in the community. The class presented basic business information geared toward potential entrepreneurs, including the pros and cons of buying a franchise vs. going it alone. “It definitely helped me decide,” Diozzi says.
Diozzi ultimately chose to establish Tutoring by Design, an in-home tutoring service for kindergarteners through college students. She also became an incubator client and took additional classes there, which helped her start her business off on the right track. In its first year and a half of operation, the company has grown to a staff of 27, most of whom work part time.
Like the Enterprise Center, many incubators offer entrepreneurial training programs as a way to help existing clients grow their businesses and to attract potential clients into their facilities. But these programs also benefit incubators – and their communities – in other ways. Training events can raise awareness of an incubator’s mission, which can attract sponsors and contribute to its bottom line, and can help create a thriving business community. Read on for more details about how several incubators have structured their training programs to bring value to local entrepreneurs and their communities.
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Keywords: entrepreneurial pool, fee structuring, marketing and promotion, seminars and training programs
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