There are a variety of services for entrepreneurs in West Michigan but none quite like Spring GR
, a hands-on program that provides guidance from idea to ongoing support beyond launch.
Attah Obande is the lead business consultant and hub coordinator at Spring GR. He says the program began as pilot in March and now is ramping up for a sustained presence in West Michigan. "It started as a pilot program to serve and grow entrepreneurs in the community," he says. "We have a lot of talent here and why don't we grow it?"
Obande says the curriculum is based on a successful program
that was launched in Chattanooga, TN. He says Spring GR can support any idea but it is really designed to help individuals who are looking to start lifestyle businesses that serve the community where they live and individuals who might be embracing self employment for the first time. "Most of the participants in our program have no business plan or experience," he says.
The program is 12 weeks long and has one topic per week, focusing on business basics, target markets, cash flow and financials. The heart of the program, however, is what happens after the entrepreneurs get the business started: "We commit to the entrepreneurs to be an ongoing resource. We work to connect these individuals with other community support."
Obande, who recently served as a judge for the new 5x5 Night, says the program is designed to complement other programs that serve entrepreneurs in the community, such as GROW, Restorers; to enhance the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem and not duplicate other programs.
Obande says the ideal class size is 10-15 people and the cost for the participant $100. You can view the first graduation class of Spring GR
here and learn more about the program here.
Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs News Editor.