An entrepreneurship course that has proven its worth in the Kansas City area is coming to Topeka this summer.
Kira Cheree, owner of Entrepreneur Business Basics, recently announced she is bringing her 12-week entrepreneur course, which is designed to help business owners of color, to Topeka — and there is still time to apply.
Cheree said she founded Entrepreneur Business Basics in 2014 and began her work by offering one-day workshops.
“It came out of a need to provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs of color, really just seeing the gaps and the deficit and the disparities,” she said. “African-American entrepreneurs really did not have the solid structure for their businesses to grow and sustain.”
So she aimed to change that. And what started as one-day workshops has evolved into a 12-week entrepreneurship course focusing on everything from writing a business plan and gaining a better knowledge of finances to understanding consumer trends and marketing basics.
“We focus on entrepreneurs that are just starting, all the way to about year five,” Cheree said. “We really want them to have a great, solid foundation about how to do business — because a lot of times entrepreneurs of color are really great at their business, what their business industry is, but they lack the understanding of how to operate their businesses. So that’s our focus.”
Dozens of business owners have participated
Dozens of entrepreneurs have already benefitted from the program.
One such entrepreneur is Christina Williams, who owns two businesses in the Kansas City area. She was part of the program’s first cohort in 2016 and decided to enroll in the course to gain knowledge that would be useful in growing one of her businesses, Posh Restoration Facilities.
“The whole idea behind getting that particular business started was to offer our community healthier options to take care of their hair and skin,” Williams said, “particularly women who are dealing with hair loss, different skin issues, who were looking for options that weren’t your traditional, standard ones prescribed by physicians. We’re looking for just healthier alternatives.”
Williams said she enrolled in the Entrepreneur Business Basics course because she knew Cheree was knowledgeable in her field, and Williams wanted to learn how her business could advance.
“As a small business owner, a lot of times there’s not a handbook to teach you how to do business the right way,” she said. “So it was really the processes of, ‘This is what you need to do if you’re in business’ — everything from filing with entities to structure. All the details are really what I gained the most from it.”
Since then, Williams has recommended the course to other entrepreneurs in her circle.
“If you’re a small-business owner looking for practical tools to use to make your business more efficient, then EBB is definitely worth a try,” she said.
EBB JUMP expands to Topeka, Manhattan
Cheree, in partnership with Kauffman FastTrac, has been offering the 12-week course, called EBB JUMP, for about five years in Kansas City. This summer, she is expanding to Topeka and Manhattan.
The Topeka session is expected to kick off June 3, while the Manhattan course will begin June 10.
The Topeka one is being underwritten by Shawnee Startups, Cheree said. They are covering most of the course costs, meaning participants are only being asked to pay a $50 enrollment fee.
Cheree said there are 20 spots in the Topeka course, and a handful of those are still available. To register, entrepreneurs should go to Entrepreneur Business Basics’ website, ebbkc.com.
Course sessions will take place 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursdays for the duration of the 12 weeks. Most classes are expected to be held in person at GO Topeka, 719 S. Kansas Ave., but some will be conducted virtually via Zoom.
In addition to gaining business knowledge, Cheree said, entrepreneurs can expect to hear from guest speakers and widen their network of resources.
The long-term goal, she added, is to equip entrepreneurs of color with the tools they need to sustain their businesses and see them flourish.
“We want them to move from just being a pop-up vendor or somebody on Facebook that has a hobby to being a registered business that is able to compete and stay alive in the marketplace,” she said.