The good news: There is no shortage of educational resources for small businesses in South Florida.
On any given week, you can pick from a number of workshops and seminars, given by organizations such as Florida SBDC at FIU, the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE, Miami Bayside Foundation, The Miami-Dade Beacon Council, chambers of commerce and city economic development agencies, to name a few. These workshops, often free or low cost, typically feature one or more experts on a topic and allow you to ask questions and get feedback on your own challenges, as well as providing you a chance to network with other workshop participants. This works great – if you can go.
But small business owners and startup founders can’t always make the time for the live workshops. That’s why the Florida SBDC at FIU, the small business development center within the university’s College of Business, has been working on ways to make small business education more accessible.
“We recognize that business owners today wear many hats and have more demands on their time. As such, it is often difficult to be away from the office for three to four hours at a time,” said Brian Van Hook, Regional Director of SBDC at FIU. “With that in mind, we are supplementing our in-person trainings with more regular webinar and on-demand offerings. That way you can get high-quality training on how to grow your business without having to leave your office or sit in traffic.”
To do that, SBDC at FIU, together with the Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center, is rolling out Webinar Wednesdays. Two Wednesdays a month, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., the organization will host a new webinar on topics useful to startups and growing businesses. The webinar will include a Q&A section, and viewers will be able to submit additional questions in the chat or via email, which SBDC at FIU will follow up on. And if you can’t make it at 9 a.m. – or you want to watch it again — you can catch it later on your time schedule.
The first one is 9 a.m. Jan. 15 on “Launching a New Business: From Concept to Success.” In the Webinar, SBDC consultant Ricardo Newark, a specialist in business growth and finance, will cover how to use the Launch Cycle Framework to identify a target market; build and identify a team; adopt a business model; develop a business plan; identify potential funding sources; and properly execute the launch of a business. To register, go here: go.fiu.edu/launch
That one will be followed on Jan. 29, again at 9 am, by a deeper dive into business incorporation by SBDC at FIU consultant Frederic Bonneau. This will be a workshop explaining the nuts and bolts of starting and operating a business, as well as filing with the State of Florida; reserving a business name; determining the legal organization of your business; and learning about tax considerations. To register go here: go.fiu.edu/incorporate
In February, SBDC at FIU and Florida PTAC will bring you two webinars on state and local government contracting. At 9 a.m. on Feb. 15 will be an overview of state and local contracting, by PTAC’s government contracting specialist Luis Batista, including how to research bid opportunities and how to best position yourself to succeed. Registration: go.fiu.edu/local
“Doing Business with Miami-Dade County” is the webinar for Feb. 26, where you will learn about the requirements to participate in Maimi-Dade County’s Small Business Enterprise Certification program and learn about available opportunities. Registration: go.fiu.edu/miamidade
In later months are webinars on finance, marketing/branding, and strategy, as well as franchising, disaster preparedness and cybersecurity; some are offered in Spanish. Find new offerings on SBDC.FIU.edu under the Events/Trainings tab.
While we know these don’t take the place of the face-to-face access and networking opportunities that in-person events provide, we hope you will find this to be an accessible option for small business education. Please let us know what you think about the webinars and how they can be improved to be the most useful to you. Is there a topic you’d like to see? Tell us. (Please email us at SBDC@FIU.EDU). SBDC will continue to offer live programs and workshops as well.
In coming months right here on Growbiz, we’ll explore the many options small businesses have for education from a variety of resources in South Florida. Whether you want deep dives into a particular topic, a workshop series held in the evenings or an immersive accelerator/incubator experience, South Florida’s agencies have you covered. We’ll highlight some of these programs so that 2020 can be a year of continuous learning and improvement for you and your business. Stay tuned!
Please send GrowBiz topic suggestions and feedback to GrowBiz@FIU.EDU.