Writing a business plan should be high up on the to-do list of any entrepreneur interested in getting a loan, signing a new lease or hiring an employee, but in many cases, the task can still seem an unconquerable challenge for too many small business owners. At Centro Community Partners (Centro) we know this too well, and so do our new partners at Urban Solutions. That's why we have combined our strengths to provide more current and aspiring small business owners with the best tools and guidance to launch and grow their ventures putting the right foot forward.
Urban Solutions focus is to strengthen underserved San Francisco neighborhoods by supporting small businesses, job creation, diversity and sustainability. They are a recognized provider of small business support and training, and an advocate for balanced and thoughtful neighborhood economic development.
Susie McKinnon, Director of Neighborhood Services at Urban Solutions tells us how Centro's Business Planning App and Basic Entrepreneurship Program further enhances the outcomes of the ample support system they already offer to SF small business owners:
"Our core services include real estate, leasing assistance, loan packaging and individualized small business consulting. In most instances during the process of any of Urban Solutions consultations and services, a consistent necessity for clients turns towards the need for the development of a basic business plan. Urban Solutions supports specific clients to a certain extent to help them develop their plans – especially during the timeliness of executing a lease or a loan. However, our staff does not usually have the time to offer comprehensive training on all the components involved with the development of a well vetted business plan from client to client.
We are happy to say that this particular predicament changed in the spring time of 2016 for Urban Solutions and our clients moving forward. Learning of the Centro Business Planning app and partnering up with the amicable staff at Centro Community Partners will allow us to offer a tremendous and free resource to budding and established entrepreneurs in San Francisco for the years to come."
In April of 2016, Centro Community Partners conducted a 9-week Basic Entrepreneur Course which Urban Solutions coordinated and helped to facilitate at a local co-working space. Approximately 25 individuals signed up and there were a core 15-18 that participated in a majority of the classes. Each class built off the next and guided the student entrepreneurs through the steps and content needed to build an individualized business plan. Most of the content and information is derived through an easy-to-use app developed by Centro that walks individuals through activities that help them plug in information that will be added to their business plans.
At the final session, each student was given a printout draft of their business plan and was offered a few minutes to present their business concepts, next steps to moving toward their goals and how the class and program helped them progress forward.
"This was a great learning experience for not only the students but also for the Urban Solutions staff. We’re now better equipped to offer easy-to-use resources to entrepreneurs and help them develop their business plans. The students of this initial cohort now have a foundational understanding of how to build their businesses and work through the details to best establish what is needed to accomplish their goals.
Progressively through the classes and particularly at the final session, most students displayed greater confidence than when they first started. Most expressed new found energy and excitement towards understanding what tools and steps are needed to advance their businesses. Thank you, Centro Community Partners!"
Urban Solutions will continue to offer Centro's Basic Entrepreneurship Program and plans to hold another session next year!
We’re excited to offer this service to San Francisco and grateful for the dedication and expert knowledge of the community offered by Urban Solutions.