Entrepreneur program sets future for locals

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The Downtown Stockton Alliance, in partnership with BBVA Compass Bank, has commissioned Centro Community Partners to run a nine-week Basic Entrepreneurs Workshop for the next year.

“Entrepreneurship and small businesses run this country …we wanted to create an initiative to help small business, build entrepreneurship and create economic liability in Stockton,” said Irina Kurtsevaya, Centro Community Partners facilitator.

Centro Community Partners is a nonprofit and covers much of the cost to train the participants.

“Nationally it can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 a year to train , we are trying to make it accessible and money shouldn’t be stopping you from gaining this type of training,” said Kurtsevaya.

The workshop cost $45, cutting trainees cost almost completely.

“It’s definitely worth the investment if you want to start a business. I’ve always had the vision I just needed the help and the guidance,” said Essence Hubbard, entrepreneur trainee.

Hubbard is currently a Delta College student and at 20 is creating an online-based business where she will be selling a unisex clothing line.

The program covers basic strategy, personal finance, market analysis, value proposition, operations, marketing strategy and business finance.

“The workshops are open to anyone who wants to start a business, who hasn’t had access to capital and who doesn’t have specific business education or degree,” said Kurtsevaya.

Classes are held every Wednesday from 3:30 p.m. to 6:60 p.m. at the Brick & Mortar, 125 Bridge Place in downtown Stockton, headquarters of the Downtown Stockton Alliance.

During the course of the training trainees will have a workbook provided to help them stay on track during and after the nine weeks have ended.

“So far I like it, it’s very informative. I’ve already learned a ton,” said Poitier Stringer.

Along with everything that the program covers there is an application the trainees download that goes hand in hand with their workbook.

The app is designed to assist each person on creating a specific business plan.

Creating a business plan is essential for progress, said Kurtsevaya because without one a person can’t qualify for a business loan.

BBVA will continue to work with Centro Community Partners and the Downtown Stockton Alliance, sponsoring potential business owners following their completion of training.

Not only will the participants receive a certificate of completion, they will also have the possibility of obtaining a business loan.

“There’s nothing more powerful that creating something people love and capitalizing off of it,” said Hubbard.

The Downtown Stockton Alliance and Centro Community Partners have decided to pass future cohorts to another local organization that the organizations will train to teach these entrepreneurship classes. There will be a total of four cohorts held throughout the next year.