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Many think they have a plan, and some do, but most don’t. Coconino County started its BBE training after it began offering its IDA match saving grant opportunity which requires participants to have a viable business plan. We informed our IDA our applicants we needed their plans prior to them receiving a grant. Everyone said, "No problem." Later, after their required 6-months of saving we asked for their plans and they’d say, "It’s all right here," pointing at their heads. We, just like a bank loan officer, needed a written plan, which disappointed them. The research at that time said, 1) most businesses were failing within 5-years, and 2) failure was typically due to two reasons -- lack of a written business plan, and lack of capital. Business owners get blind-sided by market, competitor, or cashflow challenges they don’t consider. Expert facilitators, guest speakers, and lots of other resources help our BBE enrollees anticipate challenges, design viable solutions, and write coherent plans.
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BBE is a 9-week training created for existing and aspiring business owners to assist them with starting and/or expanding a small business. The goal for each enrollee is to write a business plan for launching and/or growing a viable enterprise, a "going concern." Small businesses are the primary source of wealth and job creation in America. Most people at some point during life think of starting their own business, but most don’t do it due to fear and/or lack of knowledge. They don’t know how, nor anyone else who has successfully done it. In the U.S. only about 10% of the population are business owners, and two-thirds of these were children of business owners. BBE provides instruction by those who’ve been successful.
Community Services contracts with the Coconino Small Business Development Center to facilitate the BBE training using their 9-week curriculum and the LivePlan business plan writing online portal and template. Participants are guided through the process of writing their business plan and provided help to understand their target market, products and/or services, features vs. benefits, cash flow, profit and loss, etc. If participants attend the class and complete the out-of-class assignments their business plans should be complete by the end of the training, ready for start-up and/or expansion.
Community Services offers Individual Development Account (IDA) match saving grant opportunities. IDAs are savings accounts for eligible low-to-moderate income households in which an enrollee deposits earned or business income and is granted matched funds when all is used for business start-up and/or expansion, or accredited post-secondary education. IDA participants must save monthly for at least 6-months and complete a financial literacy workshop. Match funds are disbursed when the participant’s savings are used for business capitalization or post-secondary education asset purchases. For more information, please contact Michele Axlund or Scott Neuman at (928) 679-7453.
We now contract with the Coconino Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to facilitate the BBE training. Coconino SBDC staff have access to numerous business resources and are committed to provide technical assistance to BBE participants during the course and our BBE graduates following the completion of the their business plans.
BBE enrollees must attend at least 80% of the classes to be eligible for a certificate of completion. All are urged to complete homework assignments and continue working on their business plans, even if they miss a class or aren’t finished by the end of training. Course curriculum, dialog with other participants, guest lectures, counseling from BBE facilitators, and more all contribute all assist BBE enrollees to finish strong.
Email BBE Program Manager Scott Neuman or CCHHS-CS Deputy Director Michele Axlund or call (928) 679-7453, at 2625 N. King Street, Flagstaff, Arizona 86004.