The Bay Area’s Flipped Classroom for Small Business Entrepreneurs

Centro Community Flipped Classroom.jpeg

What if there is a better way to teach entrepreneurship to new small business owners? What would it look like? These were the questions we dared to ask ourselves 8 years ago. And since then we keep finding new and better answers for them in an effort to create the best learning for busy women, recent immigrants, veterans and other new small business entrepreneurs in our programs.

When we first started developing the Centro Business Planning App, we knew that we wanted to use it to help improve our entrepreneurship-training program. However, initially, we struggled with the question of how mobile technology could be used in a classroom environment.

Our inspiration came from what was, at the time, a revolutionary approach to education that had been pioneered by the Khan Academy: The Flipped Classroom. The fundamental idea behind the Flipped Classroom methodology is that instead of listening to a lecture in class and doing homework assignments afterwards, students should watch a video of the lecture before coming to class and they should do their homework in the classroom, so that their teacher is actually available to help them when they have questions.

We took our own spin on this amazing idea and designed our app with the idea that entrepreneurs could complete a few app activities before class that would introduce the entrepreneurs to the topic and help them prepare for discussion.

This simple idea gave us a clear understanding of how we could use the Centro Business Planning App to enhance our training program. It was the spark that set off a chain-reaction of discovery and innovation at Centro. Our app is the main student tool used in our Basic Entrepreneurship Program, and right now, an average of 70% of the participants of the program are able to launch their business within 9 weeks of completion. Among them, 82% report an increase in their income and 76% report an increase in their savings.

We are excited to innovate in the classroom and see the impact outside the classroom as these new entrepreneurs experience a boost in their morale and their personal finance. Setting them up for success is what we thrive to do best!
— DJ Healy, Senior Program Manager

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