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Supporting Self-Employment: The Speedy Start-Up

I'm a big believer in the notion that we should be doing more as a workforce system to help people explore the opportunities in self-employment, particularly when we're operating in a labor market where there aren't enough jobs to go around. To that end, I'm currently working with the Bucks County WIB to implement a pilot project we're calling The Speedy Start-Up.

This 12-week series is targeted to unemployed job seekers and will help participants go from identifying their business idea to actually starting up their company. As a small business owner myself, I know that the only way to learn how to run a business is to actually start doing it and this series is very focused on helping participants take specific actions to get their businesses operating with minimal investment and minimal planning. 

We're using the $100 Start-Up, The Lean Start-Up and Business Model You as core resources for the series, which will include weekly meetings, an online classroom and a series of structured activities to help participants identify and refine their idea, test it with potential customers and actually launch their business by the end of the 12 weeks. 

One of the big things that start-ups struggle with is isolation--people are trying to do things on their own with little outside support. The weekly group meetings are designed to help combat this isolation and to connect these fledgling small business owners to one another for support, feedback and accountability. They will also have the opportunity to leverage each other's learning, networks and resources. 

We're also focusing on the effectual process that expert entrepreneurs use to develop their businesses--a process that's quite different from how we typically teach entrepreneurship. Most entrepreneurial efforts I've seen in the workforce development field use the kind of causal approach that can work for established businesses, but that isn't appropriate for start-ups. In the Speedy Start-Up, we're using the latest research and information on how expert entrepreneurs build their businesses and create multiple income streams for themselves. 

Last week I did a presentation on the project to One Stop customers in the Bucks County CareerLink's Networking Now group and got an incredibly positive reaction. People are looking for any opportunities they can find to help bring in more income to their families and to begin feeling successful again. We have 12 slots open and in less than a week we've already filled over half of them. This is something I think people are desperate for and I'm very excited to start working with them. 

If you want to learn more about what we're doing, watch the video above and then check out our Speedy Start-Up website. If you have more specific questions, feel free to email me at michelemmartin@gmail.com.

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