For the past two years, the Greater Ocala Community Development Corp (GOCDC) has been providing support and education for entrepreneurs through our Build a Better Business Series (BBB). The BBB is a seven week series of classes designed to teach entrepreneurs the six critical factors of building a successful business. Students attend 90 minute classes once a week and at the end of the program students who have completed all classes have an opportunity to compete in a “Shark Tank” style presentation to a panel of judges with the winner receiving $5,000.00.
Banking partners such as Renasant Bank, Wells Fargo, TD Bank, and CenterState Bank have provided sponsorship funds from $5,000-$7,500 to make this effort possible. In each of the six sessions we have conducted thus far the students have given feedback of their desire for the series to be longer. The primary reason being more time to discuss key concepts and how to implement them into their business strategies.
In response to the feedback from our students the GOCDC board of directors voted to extend the BBB series and create the Build a Better Business Academy (BBBA). The BBBA will be a 17 week program with 90 minute classes being offered on Tuesday and Thursday, and a 3 hour class on Saturday for students who are unable to attend during the week. Each topic will be taught for 2 weeks to allow for greater comprehension and application and we would continue to use the model of industry professionals as teachers. However, at the end of the program students will have an opportunity to present their strategies in front of a panel of judges to gain feedback and insights, but no cash award. Each class will be taught by a practicing professional to ensure participants are able to ask questions and gain deep insight to every facet of building a successful company. Program classes include:
Week 1-2 - Need Analysis
Week 3-4 - Target Market Identification
Week 5-6 - Business Structure
Week 7-8 - Leadership
Week 9-10 - Strategic Planning
Week 11-12 - Operational Plan
Week 13-14 - Marketing Plan
Week 15-16 - Marketing Strategies
Week 17 - Financial Projections
All courses materials will be provided by GOCDC and sponsors and will be distributed to participants weekly. At the end of week seventeen, participants will be given an opportunity to present their business concept in front of a panel of business leaders. Each participants will be judged on presentation, vision, planning, and receive feedback from the judges on how to move forward.
Are you a small business owner interested in moving to the next level or an entrepreneur with a solution to an identified need? To be considered for a position for our 2020 classes, please submit a one page letter of interest as an introduction to your business or business concept and please include the following:
Your full name
Your email address
Your business name
Company website (if applicable)
Number of years in business (If applicable)
Industry you currently operate in or desire to enter?
What is the greatest challenge facing your company?
Where do you see your business in the next two years?
Letters of interest may be submitted for any of the 2020 sessions. Submissions will be reviewed by the GOCDC board of directors and program participants will be chosen and notified at least two weeks before the start of class. As the State allows, we will begin planning the date for our next class. We are also planning to add an online option as well. We will be posting notices on our Facebook page, so be sure to follow us at https://www.facebook.com/gocdcocala/