Confidence in Starting Your Business: The First Step FastTrac Business Course

Emily Chudzik, Staff Writer

Millikin University’s Center for Entrepreneurship is once again collaborating with Score Chapter #296 to present the First Step FastTrac business course. This class is designed to help budding entrepreneurs gain the necessary knowledge and skills required to create, manage, and maintain a successful business.

“It’s mainly for people who want to start up a business,” said Pam Angel, the administrator/coordinator of the course. She took the course a few years ago, before she began working in the Center for Entrepreneurship. Angel collects the money required to pay for the class and orders the books and materials, among other things.

This class is not strictly for people just starting out. “My class had a lady who had a restaurant for twenty years and took the class because she wanted to be sure she was doing the right thing business wise. She found out she wasn’t.” Angel said that this helped the woman get back on the right track and she was very glad that she took the course.

This class spans over the course of eleven weeks, starting on February 27 and ending on May 8 on Thursday nights in room 109 of ADM Scovill from 5:30pm to 9:00pm. There is a free informational session on February 13 from 6:00-7:00 for people who want to learn more about the program before they make their decision. The class costs $275, but the cost includes all of the materials used in the course and a free one-year membership to the Micro Business Network (MBN).

“If you go through the class, develop a feasibility plan and want to continue on with it, we give you a free year membership to the MBN. That’s actually how the MBN got started,” Angel said. After people graduated the class, they fell out of touch with the business world and what they learned in the classroom. They were not making progress with their businesses, so to help these graduates the MBN was born.

“It helps them stay educated, and stay in touch and connected with other businesses that may have similar issues,” said Angel. There are hundreds of SCORE chapters around the country, but this one is unique because it is housed in a university. Usually it is put on by an economic development center or a chamber of commerce, but this chapter is connected to the Tabor School of Business.

“This class is very beneficial. We’ve seen several people who think they know business, only to find out that they don’t,” Angel said. The First Step FastTrac Course is extremely helpful in determining how successful a potential business will be without a huge risk. “$275 may seem like a lot, but determining if your business is feasible or not is a whole lot cheaper than investing your life savings into it.”