CentreWorks launches its second LIFTOFF series on March 4th, aimed at those interested in learning more about entrepreneurship and its implications.
Places on the course are limited so the course is now full. The session will be virtual due to COVID-19.
Andrea and Anthony Margida, managing directors of CentreWorks, said the program is not just for people thinking about becoming entrepreneurs, but anyone in Boyle County or any of the other six counties who is interested in learning what it takes to start a business or a non-profit organization. It is a 10 week program with one hour meetings once a week. A main focus of the program is on several conversations with the community, which the hopeful wishes should serve, said Andrea.
“That in itself is a skill – to learn how to find out what someone needs, what is missing, where the gaps are,” said Andrea. “So we’re working a lot on it. We work a lot on empathy and we work to make sure that you hear what someone says with their words, that you hear what they don’t say, because that can be very meaningful, and you can use all this information too to find out what is most important to the individual or group you want to serve. “
The program also gives those looking to set up startups the opportunity to network with one another, not just in their communities.
“This is another bonus: you connect with people in this region, so you really build a network through the program and through LIFTOFF,” said Andrea. “And you need that – you know, entrepreneurs need that. They need other people working to start something, even if it’s in a completely different field or area. It’s really helpful to be able to connect with someone else who is going through the process. “
Participants will also be matched with students at the center who will study alongside participants, help them when needed, and give them a separate mindset and approach from their own by working with students with different interests and skills.
During this session, people will learn a “people-centered approach to innovation,” said Anthony. Participants will develop a value proposition centered on the product or service they are offering, and the program will emphasize that entrepreneurs are not born but through certain habits such as empathy, listening, understanding, and learning from mistakes as well as practical reasons knowledge is created. Participants will learn from lawyers and accountants how to understand the financial and legal aspects of starting a business, and they will learn the basics of digital marketing and other skills.
The first LIFTOFF meeting took place in autumn 2020 and lasted eight weeks, with only one student involved. Anthony said he and Andrea were very happy with the 14 participants who completed the program.
“We were very happy with the first lap,” said Anthony. “The community we have built is a really strong community of 14 entrepreneurs, all women, and some of them are focused on some exciting things.”
One such graduate is Kate Snyder, assistant director of the Art Center of the Bluegrass, who works with an artist studio at a startup children’s bookstore.
Anthony said the session was open to many different business ideas from different fields, from agriculture to arts to IT, and he said the program wasn’t just for entrepreneurs – the skills learned through the session could be applied to different challenges.
“We want most of the people in Danville to take this course one time or another. We see it as a boost for the entire community, developing a culture of innovation and creating new opportunities,” he said.