Entrepreneurial training scholarships available to the laid-off


    Employers who were recently forced to lay off workers might want to refer them to free entrepreneurial training from Lakeshore Advantage in Zeeland starting Nov. 3.

    The training, called Venture Forward, is based on the nationally-recognized FastTrac New Venture program and would normally cost about $700 per person for the eight-week course. Through financial assistance from Ottawa County Michigan Works, however, workers who have lost their jobs due to the economy are eligible for full scholarships to attend the program. 

    Lakeshore Advantage, an economic development organization serving Holland, Zeeland and Saugatuck, is sponsoring the entrepreneurial training to help dislocated workers remain in the area.

    Amanda Chocko, director of entrepreneurial development at Lakeshore Advantage, said the program’s goal is “to keep these skilled and talented workers in our area and help them foster new opportunities. It’s a new beginning for many.”

    Venture Forward will help individuals evaluate business opportunities and develop action plans for owning their own businesses. The program features three-hour training sessions each Monday afternoon from Nov. 3 through Dec. 22. Classes focus on industry and market research assistance, small group activities, hands-on coaching, entrepreneur guest speakers and training materials provided by FastTrac. The instructor will be provided by the Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center at GVSU.

    For more information, see www.misbtdc.org or call (616) 331-7370. Applicants must provide proof of layoff to be eligible for the scholarship.

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