Wichita State University-based organization brings expertise to town

Are you an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is one who organizes and operates a business, and in the process takes some financial risk.
If you have thought about starting your own business or you have a business and would like to grow it to the next stage, the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wichita State University can help.
The center has announced that they will bring their third annual Entrepreneurial Certificate Program to Dodge City and Ford County.
The program consists of 11 sessions, each meeting from 3 to 6:30 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, beginning April 4 and concluding June 13.
Each session will be led by an expert in the particular topic being discussed.
"We understand how adults learn," said Tim Pett, director of the center.
"We make sure there is plenty of information in each session but also time for discussion and small group work."
Topics for the sessions include:
n The Entrepreneurial Mindset,
n The Marketing Plan,
n Developing Promotional Strategy,
n Creating Value,
n Nuts and Bolts of Advertising,
n Basic Sales Techniques,
n Fundamental Merchandising,
n Financial Focus,
n The Employee Factor,
n Contract Relationships, and
n Developing an Effective Niche Strategy
Sessions will be held in the Math Science Annex on the Dodge City Community College campus.
Cost for the program is $200 per person.
Enrollment is limited to 45 participants.
"We ask those with established businesses to look at their operation from 1,000 feet up," Pett said. "We get them thinking about the parts of their plan that they've forgotten about."
Pett says the information provided is designed to be as practical and current as possible.
"Small business owners have a lot of demands on their time. We want to help them with that and we don't want to waste any of their time," he said.
The Center held their first classes in Greensburg in 2011 and followed that up with sessions in Augusta last year.
"We're anxious to bring this program to the folks around Dodge City," Pett said.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Joann Knight, director of Dodge City Ford County Economic Development. "The fact that this program is coming to us here in Dodge City and it's accessible to local businesses for such a low cost is incredible."
The development offices help local businesses meet requirements for starting and maintaining a business — everything from finding funding to locating a building to finding housing for employees.
Business owners who complete the program may wish to access the development office's E-Community loan program, which can help fund startup costs, purchase of an existing business, business expansion, working capital, inventory and new equipment.
"We have a total of $225,000 in the E-Community program, part of which is currently loaned out helping businesses grow," Knight said.
Certification by the entrepreneurship program will help business people access E-Community loans and other resources, including a network of people with information.
Anyone interested in more information about the program or to register, call the development office at (620) 227-9501 of visit www.GrowingRuralBusinesses.org.