Business planning

Published 1:30 pm Monday, November 17, 2008

For prospective business owners, it’s a leg up; for Ironton leaders, it’s a chance to help the city’s future small businesses get off to a good start.

The City of Ironton, in partnership with the Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone and the Huntington, W.Va.-based Unlimited Future, Inc., is sponsoring a class called Business Planning For Profit. The 12-hour course teaches prospective business owners the steps of starting a profitable business, meeting various state and federal requirements, how to develop a business plan and even how to acquire funding.

“I’ve been surprised over the last six months at the people who have come forth and expressed an interest in taking one of our vacant storefronts,” Ironton Development Director Bill Dickens explained. His list of interested parties includes someone who sells homemade baskets, one person who wants to open a bike shop, one who is interested in selling tee-shirts and a stained glass artist. “These niche-type businesses would serve Ironton well but these people may lack business experience. We want to reach out to them.”

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Staff members of Unlimited Future, Inc., will teach the classes. According to information on its website, the agency is a non-profit business development center “designed to assist disadvantaged businesses in their efforts to reduce overhead expenses, compete effectively in markets and to create jobs.”

Qualified students who complete the course and have a written business plan may be eligible for a micro-loan of between $5,000 and $30,000 to help with start-up expenses.

The class will be two hours each Tuesday from Jan. 6- Feb. 10 at the Ironton Fire Department. The standard fee for the course is $400 but the Empowerment Zone is picking up $375 of that amount for the first 10 enrollees. An orientation meeting will be 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Ironton City Center lobby.

For more information call the mayor’s office at 532-3833.