Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The West Virginia Small Business Development Center, in partnership with Fairmont State Community & Technical College, has launched SmallBizU, the first "online university" created especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Developed and deployed first in Indiana, SmallBizU has been assisting entrepreneurs in that state for over a year. Within SmallBizU, there are 18 core classes available, as well as a comprehensive entrepreneurial master class curriculum.

"These 'anytime, anywhere' internet courses are a great deal because they meet the needs of the busy small business owner and are priced under $50 per course," said Paul Schreffler, Fairmont State Community & Technical College's Director of Economic Development.

The curriculum was developed using a unified approach applied across the design of each course. As the largest collection of entrepreneurial training resources available on the web, the online university seeks to instill a formal business intelligence -- the capacity to solve problems, meet challenges and create valued products.

"SmallBizU provides a missing link in serving the time-sensitive needs of today's small business owners and entrepreneurs. The quality of the curriculum and the combination of public and private sector partners makes this an exciting addition to the resources available to Chamber members and the entire business community," said Kevin Brinegar, President of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

SmallBizU focuses on the "Ms" -- Money, Marketing and Management. This is accomplished through a no-frills, utilitarian curriculum that provides small businesses with real world tools and information. All of these resources are focused upon delivering state-of-the-art small business education.

Each course is delivered via the internet, full of animated slides accompanied by voice-over narration, PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, toolsets and access to a comprehensive knowledge base. SmallBizU tells how it's actually done in a small business, not in a textbook. From new ventures, to business managers, to entrepreneurs, to master level classes, there is a range of courses across all functional areas of small business.

"We used the Financials Forecasting Module at SmallBizU to help us develop proforma income statements, balance sheets, etc.," said Jose Rodriguez, CEO, Medical Charting Solutions, LLC. "We were dreading how we were going to develop them in time to meet a deadline. SmallBizU literally came to the rescue, and we were able to produce financial statements for our revenue model in just a few hours. Wow and thank you is all I can say."

To find out more about the program, visit http://www.fairmontstate.edu/sbdc/ and click on the SmallBizU link.