2021 $1,000 Start-Ups Program Changes

We want to share with you a few of the things we learned from our 2020 Pilot Class that we’ve incorporated into the 2021 $1,000 Start-Ups Program to make it even better.

Reduced Homework to Once a Week

For the 2021 class we’ve combined some of the classes but only provide new material and homework once a week. In the second weekly session we work through issues class members are having as they progress. We also have student presentations of related material, guest speakers, field trips, and class events.

For the 2020 Pilot we offered Entrepreneurship Training on Wednesdays and Financial Management and Lifeskills Training on Saturdays. Having two classes a week, each with homework, resulted in some students not having the chance to really apply the lessons to the businesses they were starting.

Broadened Marketing Reach

We’ve broadened our reach in the local community. In 2020 we had two Facebook posts that were shared. For the 2021 program we developed a marketing campaign that went on for more than a month. As a result our 2021 program reached a broader audience and our students were those who’d been already working on or thinking about starting a business.

Grant Criteria

3. Our grant distribution is now based on need and participation. During the 2020 program every participant, regardless of need recieved up to a $1,000 as long as they continued their progress of establishing a business. We found those who didn’t need the funding didn’t practice the same level of diligence and often made personal investments in their businesses prior to building the infrastructure necessary to grow their businesses to the next level.

In the 2021 program we are providing grants based on need and emphasizing the wisdom for bootstrapping. We’re also reinforcing the importance of slow steady growth with enough cycles of learning to reduce risk. Additionally we’ve enhanced the classes on building infrastructure to include job descriptions in addition to standard operating procedures.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant and as the executive director of The $1,000 Start-Ups Consortium, as non-profit whose mission is provide income and reentry opportunities by training, funding, and promoting small businesses. Leah resides in Amelia Island, Florida with her life partner Sam Lane, and their rescue dog, Goliath.

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