Available Classes

Small business entrepreneurs learn about marketing, finance, cash flow, and other business fundamentals.
Photo by Meta Mesdag

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Foundations I:  Start Smart

A six-week course that covers the core competencies needed to start a small business.

Foundations II: The Next Level for Your Business 

A four-week advanced workshop building on your business skills, using your own business as the textbook.

Business Plan Intensive:  Plan to Paper 

A four-week class focused on the completion of your business plan.  See below for requirements.

 

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Foundations I
Start Your Business the Right Way
This popular six-week course covers the essentials needed to start a small business, and business plan requirements. Students learn about marketing, cash flow operations, business registration,  credit and everything else necessary in the first year of a business. Our interactive format empowers students to apply concepts learned in class directly to their business. Click here for Course Outcomes.

Start your business plan by learning how to…

  • Determine the appropriate legal status for your business.
  • Obtain the correct licenses and permits.
  • Calculate start-up costs, unit of sale, profit margins,  break-even point, and pricing window.
  • Analyze your competition.
  • Identify target markets and create a marketing plan.
  • Identify funding sources and write a strong business plan.

As part of the coursework, be prepared to analyze your competition, set pricing, focus group your product or service, and build confidence to turn your idea into reality. All classwork and homework contribute to completing your business plan.

Cost:  $175 (partial scholarships available)

2014 Class Schedule

    MCNW / Downtown (classes open for registration one month prior)
  • Tuesdays 4-7pm - Aug 12 to Sept 23—Registration Open
  • Wednesdays 12-3pm - Sept 10 to Oct 15—Registration Opens Aug 10
  • Thursdays 4-7pm - Sept 25 to Oct 30—Registration Opens Aug 25
  • Saturdays 12-3pm - Sept 27 to Nov 1—Registration Opens Aug 27


    Off-Site Courses

    None currently offered

     

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    Foundations ll
    The Next Level for Your Business

    Our Next Level Business Workshop is designed for owners who are ready to grow their businesses, be more efficient and generate additional revenue. This four-week course provides the focus you need to explore business fundamentals more deeply, particularly in the ways that relate to your day-to-day challenges and opportunities. Owners use their own businesses as a case study in this brief series of action-oriented classes, which are half the size of our Business Foundations I classes for more individualized attention and hands-on learning.

    This workshop is designed for business owners looking for assistance in the following areas:

    • Changing business processes to increase your capacity as both owner and manager
    • Converting sales opportunities into repeat customers
    • Introducing new products or finding a new target market
    • Scheduling your time, and focusing on revenue generating tasks
    • Defining your sales process and calculating projections
    • Keeping up with demand while expanding strategically
    • Telling customers your story
    • Receiving support from other business owners with similar challenges



    Additionally, it’s for business owners who:

    • Have one year of revenue
    • Are willing to commit to four weekly sessions and 3-4 hours of research and business development activities each week
    • Are ready to participate with and support other business owners
    • Are ready to see changes take place in their business


    Click here for Course Outline.

    Cost:  $200 (scholarships not available)

    2014 Open Sections: (classes open for registration about one month prior)

    Mondays 4-7 pm - August 4 to August 25
    Tuesdays 5-8pm - September 30 to Oct 21

    What do our Foundations II graduates have to say?

    Next Level Business Workshops are a perfect chance for the harried small business owner to take a deep breath and focus on breaking down their biggest challenges step by step. The class is very self-guided, almost like a small business therapy session. The questions and evaluations asked in the class require you to get a handle on your details and collect honest information about where you stand in your business and how you’re spending your time and money, what your costs really look like, who your customers are and use that information to set a roadmap for increased success.

    If you’re running a business and putting your paperwork on the backburner, or feel like you’re always doing a million things but not getting where you need to be, and you haven’t stopped to thoroughly take stock of what’s happening and how to change course, this workshop is a great opportunity to assess your strengths and weaknesses, and set off in the right direction with new resolve.

    - Brian Watson, Sick String Guitar

    Portland Custom Shop 1115 SE Morrison, Portland OR 97214

    Mercy Corps Northwest hosts the only Women’s Business Center in Oregon, providing funds and other resources to help entrepreneurs become self-sufficient.

     

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    Plan to Paper: Business Plan Intensive
    Making Your Small Business a Reality

    Is your business plan only partially completed?

    Does the financial section intimidate you?

    Not sure where to go from here?

    Mercy Corps Northwest loan applicants and clients who have completed our Business Foundations I course are invited to participate in a new Business Plan Intensive pilot program. This brief course is intended to get you loan ready - whether you’re applying for funding (loan or IDA) with Mercy Corps Northwest, or with a traditional financial institution.

    Not only will this course bridge the gap between the end of your business classes and the launch of your enterprise, it will help you to formalize your newfound insights into a bankable plan. It’s time to bring the pieces together and put your Plan to Paper.

    Upcoming Classes

  • Tuesdays 12-3pm - February 25 to March 18
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    What other students say

    I really grew my vision and my own confidence as an entrepreneur in this class. I walked in quite fearful of how much work it was going to take to start my business. I walked out with so much knowledge and a clear understanding of what I need to do. I am so grateful to have found Mercy Corps Northwest, and I will definitely be staying in touch to do more. Excellent!

    I appreciate that the class was so engaging. If all my instructors in school had been as helpful and enthusiastic, I would have done much better. I truly enjoyed this class and feel like I can succeed.

    The teachers were excellent, and the course was well-designed. I felt like my money and time were well spent.

    Cancellation Policy
    In order to receive a full refund, you must cancel your enrollment one week prior before the start of the Foundations class. No refunds will be issued within one week of the start date of the Foundations class.

    Need to make up a class?
    Please be aware that you cannot miss more than two classes of Foundations 1. If you miss two or fewer, you may make them up by finding an open course.