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Free courses available for U.P. small business owners

MARQUETTE — Owning a business means meeting day-to-day challenges that can sometimes seem daunting, but the Michigan Small Business Development Center has found a new way to assist both new and existing small businesses in the Upper Peninsula.

The Step UP Your Business program has been expanded to include a six-week in-person training series, according to a MSBDC press release.

“The Step UP Your Business program was created to provide targeted support to areas affected by the closure of the Empire Mine,” Michigan SBDC Portable Assistance Business Consultant Nicole Young said. “Forty-four pre-launch and existing businesses have received assistance through the program in 2018. We’re excited to launch our next series of training both in-person and online to serve multiple learning styles.”

The Michigan SBDC received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to provide targeted support to areas affected by the closure of the Empire Mine.

The closure displaced 372 employees and resulted in an estimated $48.4 million annual payroll loss and total annual economic impact of $216 million. Former employees and local business owners have been affected by the closure. This program will provide new opportunities for Upper Peninsula residents.

Participants are invited to attend in-person at Ampersand Coworking in Marquette for the first installment of the series, entitled Starting a Business, on Wednesday at 8 a.m. or, those unable to attend can participate in the training by viewing a live-stream broadcast.

All trainings are available at no-cost and can be accessed by registering at www.SBDCMichigan.org/StepUP.

Other courses and dates include, Writing a Business Plan on March 21; Fundamentals of Small Business Marketing on March 28; Understanding Your Financial Position on April 4; Cyber Security Awareness for Small Businesses on April 11; and Grow Your Business with Government Contracting on April 18.

“These courses will equip individuals with the tools needed to successfully start, launch, or grow their small business” the press release states. “Participants also have access to a no-cost business consultant to help them with their small business needs.”

Informational sessions for individuals interested in the program are scheduled for the following dates and locations: Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Lumber Baron Conference Room in at the Roam Inn, 815 W. Munising Ave. in Munising; March 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Manistique Welcome Center, 1000 W. Lakeshore Dr, Manistique; and March 28 at 12 p.m. at a location to be determined in L’Anse.

The online program is currently open for registration and is available at no-cost, the press release states. Anyone interested in signing up for the online course and accessing one-on-one business consulting through the Michigan SBDC should visit www.SBDCMichigan.org/StepUP.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is lbowers@miningjournal.net.

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