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Looking to start your own small business? Look no further! The City of Lancaster has just launched an exciting initiative called the Small Business Startup Series. This program is designed to offer aspiring entrepreneurs the support and resources they need to turn their dreams into reality. With a diverse curriculum that covers everything from business startup essentials to marketing basics and accessing capital, participants will gain valuable knowledge and skills to kickstart their ventures. And here’s the best part – entrepreneurs who successfully complete all eight courses have the chance to pitch their business ideas and win a grant of $5,000! With the program being offered virtually and available in both English and Spanish, it’s never been easier to embark on your entrepreneurial journey. Plus, the Small Business Development Center will provide personalized consulting to help you navigate any challenges along the way. So, what are you waiting for? Let the Small Business Startup Series be your stepping stone to success!


The City of Lancaster has launched the Small Business Startup Series, a program designed to provide support and resources to aspiring entrepreneurs. This comprehensive program offers a diverse curriculum covering a range of topics such as business startup, marketing basics, accessing capital, financial management, legal considerations, branding and design, market research, e-commerce strategies, business plan development, and scaling and growth.

One of the key highlights of this program is the opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas and potentially win a grant of $5,000. This pitch competition is the culmination of the series and offers participants a chance to showcase their innovative ideas to a panel of judges. The grant award can be a significant boost for a startup, providing the funds needed to take their business to the next level.

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The Small Business Startup Series will be offered virtually, making it accessible to a wide range of individuals. Whether you’re a busy parent, a full-time employee, or simply located in another city, you can still participate in this program without the need for physical attendance. The program will be conducted in both English and Spanish, ensuring that language is not a barrier to entry.

To further enhance the learning experience, participants will also have access to personalized consulting provided by the Small Business Development Center. These one-on-one sessions will allow entrepreneurs to receive individualized guidance and support tailored specifically to their needs. Whether you need assistance with business assessments, financial analysis, or marketing strategies, the Small Business Development Center will be there to help you navigate through the challenges of starting a business.

Course Offerings

The Small Business Startup Series offers a comprehensive range of courses to equip entrepreneurs with the essential knowledge and skills to succeed in their ventures. These courses cover a wide array of topics that are crucial for startup success.

The Business Startup course provides participants with a solid foundation by exploring the key steps involved in starting a business, from idea generation to market analysis. Entrepreneurs will learn how to develop a business plan and identify potential risks and challenges.

The Marketing Basics course delves into the fundamental principles of marketing, teaching participants how to define their target market, develop effective marketing strategies, and create compelling advertising campaigns. This course will help entrepreneurs gain a deeper understanding of how to reach and engage customers.

Accessing Capital is a crucial topic for any entrepreneur. This course provides valuable insights into the various financing options available, including loans, grants, and venture capital. Participants will learn how to create a financial plan, prepare documentation, and present a compelling case to potential investors.

Financial Management is a course designed to help entrepreneurs understand the financial aspects of running a business. From budgeting and forecasting to financial reporting and analysis, participants will gain the skills necessary to make informed financial decisions and manage the financial health of their startup.

Legal Considerations is a course that covers the basic legal requirements and considerations for starting and operating a business. Entrepreneurs will learn about business structures, contracts, intellectual property, and other legal aspects that are essential for protecting their interests and ensuring compliance.

Branding and Design focuses on the importance of creating a strong brand identity and visually appealing design elements. Participants will learn how to develop a brand strategy, design a compelling logo, and create consistent brand messaging across different platforms.

Market Research is a course that explores the importance of gathering and analyzing data to gain insights into the target market. Entrepreneurs will learn how to conduct surveys, interviews, and competitor analysis to make informed business decisions and identify market trends.

E-commerce Strategies is a course that addresses the growing importance of online sales channels. Participants will learn how to develop an effective e-commerce strategy, optimize product listings, and utilize digital marketing techniques to drive traffic and conversions.

Business Plan Development is a course that guides entrepreneurs through the process of creating a comprehensive business plan. Participants will learn how to outline their business objectives, define their target market, develop financial projections, and create a roadmap for success.

Scaling and Growth is a course that focuses on the strategies and considerations for expanding a business. Participants will learn about scaling operations, managing growth, and exploring new market opportunities. This course will provide entrepreneurs with the tools and insights needed to take their startup to the next level.

Pitch Competition

Aspiring entrepreneurs who successfully complete at least eight courses in the Small Business Startup Series will have the exciting opportunity to pitch their business ideas in a pitch competition. This competition serves as a platform for participants to showcase their innovative concepts and receive feedback from a panel of judges.

To be eligible for the pitch competition, participants must meet certain requirements, which may include completing specific courses, submitting a business plan, or demonstrating a viable prototype. These requirements are designed to ensure that participants are well-prepared and have a solid foundation in the key areas of startup knowledge.

Prior to the pitch competition, participants will receive preparation and training to refine their business ideas and presentation skills. This training may involve one-on-one coaching, group workshops, or virtual mentorship programs. The goal is to provide participants with the necessary tools and guidance to deliver a compelling pitch that effectively communicates their business concept and value proposition.

During the pitch competition, participants will be given a set amount of time to present their ideas to the panel of judges. It is important for participants to adhere to the presentation guidelines, which may specify the format, content, and time restrictions. Judges will evaluate the pitches based on specific criteria, such as innovation, market potential, feasibility, and scalability.

The highlight of the pitch competition is the grant award. The winner of the competition will be awarded a grant of $5,000 to further develop their business. This grant can provide a significant financial boost to a startup, helping entrepreneurs overcome initial challenges and invest in the growth and success of their venture.

Virtual Delivery

To ensure accessibility and convenience, the Small Business Startup Series will be delivered virtually. This means that participants can access the program from anywhere with an internet connection, eliminating the need for physical attendance. Whether you’re a busy parent juggling multiple responsibilities or an aspiring entrepreneur located in another city, you can still benefit from the program without having to travel.

The virtual delivery of the program will take place through an online platform that hosts interactive webinars and virtual classroom sessions. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in live learning experiences, ask questions, and participate in discussions. The program will also include Q&A sessions with industry experts and successful entrepreneurs, allowing participants to gain valuable insights from experienced professionals.

In addition to the live sessions, participants will have access to a wide range of learning resources. These resources may include pre-recorded video lectures, reading materials, case studies, and interactive assignments. The combination of live sessions and self-paced learning materials will provide participants with a comprehensive and flexible learning experience.

Virtual networking opportunities will also be provided, allowing participants to connect with fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, and industry professionals. Networking is a crucial aspect of entrepreneurship, as it can lead to valuable partnerships, collaborations, and mentorship opportunities. The virtual networking sessions will create a supportive community where participants can learn from each other and establish meaningful connections.

Language Accessibility

The Small Business Startup series is committed to ensuring language accessibility for all participants. The program will be offered in both English and Spanish, allowing individuals to choose the language that they are most comfortable with. By providing bilingual instructors and offering translation services, the program aims to create an inclusive learning environment where language is not a barrier to entry.

All course materials, including presentations, handouts, and resources, will be available in both English and Spanish. This will allow participants to fully engage with the content and absorb the information in their preferred language. The program recognizes the importance of linguistic diversity and strives to create equal opportunities for success for individuals from different language backgrounds.

Small Business Development Center

The Small Business Development Center plays a critical role in the Small Business Startup Series. This center provides personalized consulting services to participants, offering one-on-one support and guidance throughout the program. The consulting services are designed to address the specific needs and challenges faced by each entrepreneur, ensuring that they receive tailored assistance.

One of the key services provided by the Small Business Development Center is business assessments. These assessments involve a thorough evaluation of the participant’s business concept, market potential, and competitive landscape. Through these assessments, entrepreneurs can gain a deeper understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, allowing them to make informed decisions and develop effective strategies.

Financial analysis is another area of expertise provided by the Small Business Development Center. Entrepreneurs often face challenges when it comes to understanding and managing their finances. The center will assist participants in conducting financial analysis, creating budgets, forecasting cash flows, and developing strategies to optimize financial performance.

Marketing strategies are crucial for the success of any business. The Small Business Development Center will work closely with participants to develop effective marketing strategies that align with their business goals and target audience. From identifying the target market to designing marketing campaigns, entrepreneurs can benefit from the expertise and guidance of experienced professionals.

In conclusion, the Small Business Startup Series offered by the City of Lancaster is a comprehensive program that aims to support and empower aspiring entrepreneurs. With a diverse curriculum covering essential topics, personalized consulting services provided by the Small Business Development Center, and the opportunity to pitch business ideas and win a grant, this program offers a unique and valuable opportunity for individuals looking to start their own business. Whether you’re an English or Spanish speaker, located near or far, the virtual delivery and language accessibility of the program ensure that it is accessible to all. So why wait? Take the first step towards realizing your entrepreneurial dreams and join the Small Business Startup Series today!


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