July 1, 2014
Some local people with ideas for businesses now have more skills to grow their ideas.
The Community Investment Collaborative, or CIC, held its fourth graduation ceremony to celebrate 22 entrepreneurs completing its entrepreneurial education program.
"I'm gonna be helping in my family business that my father has had for 39 years," said Jennifer Dowell as she stood with her father after the graduation. Their family business is Dowell Trash Services, which provides trash removal for residential and commerical customers.
The graduates spent 17 weeks researching, learning and putting together their businesses..
"I'm real excited. it's been a long 17 weeks. I've worked very hard but i've learned a lot," said Dowell.
CIC tries to strengthen the community by helping local people who want to start or grow their business with education, mentoring, micro-lending, and networking.
"Whenever I first started, I, you know, I didn't really understand all the pieces that it took to run a business. But this class has really laid down very specifically what it takes to start the business, to keep it running, to make sure your financially viable, and to make sure that you like what you're doing," said Lee Elberson.
Elberson has been creating Clayborne Online Prep, a premium test prep service that specializes in the ACT and SAT.
The new graduates bring the total to more than 70 graduates in first three years of the program.
Graduates have the option to be paired with mentors and are eligible to apply from micro-loans to help them start or expand their business.