A pioneer in entrepreneurial education for women, Mercy Connections’ Women’s Small Business Program was the first—and remains the only—community-based program in Vermont focused on launching women-owned and operated businesses. The Fall 2021 semester of “Start Up” will run from August 24th through mid-December with classes being held online via Zoom. The online format provides access to women from all over Vermont, and beyond.
“Start Up offers a deep dive into business planning for women who are ready to pursue entrepreneurship,” said Lisa Wood, the program’s director. “It’s incredibly effective. We have a proven record of helping women develop their ideas and successfully launch their businesses.”
The curriculum covers the fundamentals of three content areas in depth: Marketing, Finance, and Business Operations, and is taught by a team of instructors who are also women business owners. “You’ll graduate knowing what you need to do to start and operate a successful business,” Wood said, talking about the Start Up curriculum. “And you’ll have completed a comprehensive, realistic business plan that you can use to guide you and to take to a lender if you decide you’ll need funding.”
Class size is intentionally small, so participants get plenty of personal attention and form lasting connections with classmates. This small-group experience has been referred to as “life-changing” by many of our previous graduates.
“My business is growing,” said Marie Teme, who is an owner of Green Vision Cleansing LLC and a recent graduate of the program. “One of the things that I needed most was connections. To enter into a system, you need an access point. And Mercy Connections’ Women’s Small Business Program was that access to the system of Vermont, and to the Burlington community.”
Alumnae from WSBP continue to be significant contributors to the local business landscape and Vermont economy. Graduates from the program include the proprietors of: August First Bakery, Farmhouse Chocolates and Ice Cream, Girlington Garage, Krin’s Bakery, Laughing River Yoga, Lunaroma Apothecary, Mamava, My Little Cupcake, and many more.
Classes take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00-8:00 pm. The deadline to apply for the Fall semester is August 20th, and the tuition for the semester is $2500. Many of our students receive funding through VSAC’s Advancement Grant. Mercy Connections’ offers flexible interest-free payment plans, and partial scholarships are available to those who qualify.
More information and applications are available at https://mercyconnections.org/womens-small-business-program/ready-for-a-business-plan/. Mercy Connections, founded in 2001, is a values-driven organization that empowers people to make significant life changes through education, mentoring, entrepreneurship training, and an inclusive community.