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NJC receives El Pomar grant for training PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holyoke Enterprise   

The Small Business Training program at Northeastern Junior College (NJC) has been revived, and in a large way. Large in the way of a $50,000 injection of grant funds from the El Pomar Foundation, and NJC is happy to be passing those funds along to area businesses to help infuse new life into the rural economic business community.

Cyndi Vandenbark, instructor of the Small Business Management program at NJC, is working with area Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offices to offer training and seminars to a 10-county region of northeastern Colorado.

Successful entrepreneurship requires the right set of skills and financial resources. If people already have a business that is a going concern, or they are in the start-up phase of a new venture, they could be eligible to participate in this new Business-To-College, or B2C, program being offered through NJC.

The B2C program is open to entrepreneurs in a 10-county area. Participating means that people will receive high-end, quality business training this fall, and they’ll also have a chance to win a portion of the $25,000 seed money, which will be awarded. This cash can jump-start an enterprise or finance that new piece of equipment needed to expand a current operation.

“Yesterday I visited with Craig Curl at the SBDC office in Elizabeth and he was very excited about the program and gave me great suggestions on how to deliver the training in his area,” said Vandenbark. “This will be a big boost to business start-ups as well as expanding businesses in Colorado. Many of the remote SBDC offices have training facilities, and the directors are looking for ways to bring in new speakers and new topics. This process will be a great help in delivering this specialized training to a variety of business owners,” Vandenbark adds.

“I am very excited to work with a number of SBDC directors and the area businesses that they service.”

The El Pomar Foundation, founded by Spencer and Julie Penrose, provides grant opportunities to Colorado nonprofit organizations and activities within the State of Colorado. The foundation has established regional councils throughout the state to identify funding needs at the local level. The Northeast Council represents 10 counties in the northeast and east central part of the state. The Northeast Council has identified economic development as a key focus.

NJC received $50,000 from the El Pomar Northeast Regional Council. The grant will involve promotion of B2C to interested entrepreneurs throughout the 10-county region in order to recruit participants, followed by a training program.

According to Vandenbark, $25,000 of the grant is earmarked for business training that is customized to the needs of businesses in this 10-county area. A combination of six courses and seminars, all designed to help the participants be more successful, will be offered. Among the courses planned is a session on how to write a successful business plan, along with seminars on customer service, employee hiring practices and other pertinent topics.

Additional funds will cover the cost of an iPad and internet access for individuals in the program. Courses and seminars will be designed to support distance delivery through the internet. The grant will cover all tuition expenses for the course program for the business entrepreneurs who are selected for the program. Participants will get to keep the iPad at the end of the training.

The grant also funds a business plan competition among the participating individual businesses. Each participating entrepreneur in the program will present a final business plan to a group of regional business leaders.

This business plan can represent something totally new or may be a new and improved roadmap for a currently operated business. The judging panel will evaluate and identify the top several plans in the competition and award $25,000 to support the implementation of the best plans.

Businesses that submit an application are encouraged to partner with a mentor within their respective business area. Local Small Business Development Centers are available and will participate in the process.

Classes begin in fall 2011 and will be offered in a traditional classroom format, along with an online hybrid offering. Course work and online meeting software will allow any business within the 10-county area to participate. Previous leadership training seminars have been very successful at NJC and the college is excited to support the opportunity for more aspiring entrepreneurs to participate.

Potential applicants should contact Cyndi Vandenbark for the application packet. Initial applications are due May 1 by 5 p.m. to NJC. Three letters of recommendation are required as part of the application process.

Contact Vandenbark at Cyn This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by phone at 970-521-6763.