Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 25, 2018

M.U.M. extends business training project

Small companies can receive free mentorships
Sep 12, 2018

Maharishi University of Management received a grant last year to train small businesses, and recently learned that the training has been extended for four months.

M.U.M.’s College of Business was awarded a $48,000 United States Rural Development Grant in July 2017 to provide free training to small businesses in Jefferson County. The project tagline is: “Eggs don’t incubate without heat,” where “heat” is understood to be insightful knowledge of business management and of the market environment.

The one-year grant started on Sept. 1, 2017. Now, a year later, the achievements have impressed the USDA such that the College of Business has been granted a four-month continuation of the project. The focus through December will be on mentorships—individual consultations with businesses—and more seminars and workshops.

The project manager and grant administrator, David Goodman, said the classes have been going well. Branded as Biz Training, the project has served 297 different participants in seminars and workshops over the past year. It has offered 16 four-part workshops and 17 one-time lunch hour seminars, a total of 81 training sessions located in the Fairfield Public Library, the ISU Extension Service, and the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. The instructors for these programs have been professors at the M.U.M. College of Business and local business leaders.

Goodman said the feedback from participants has been extremely positive. The most popular seminars and workshops have been on topic such as skills training in Excel, Quickbooks, and PowerPoint, financing your enterprise, and using storytelling to succeed in marketing.

During the next four months, the Biz Training project will continue with two more seminars and two more four-part workshops on topics such as management, Internet marketing, and financing small businesses.

The project’s primary focus between now and December will be to offer 7-10 “mentorships,” which consist of personal business consulting. These mentorships are provided in cooperation with the Jefferson County branch of the Southeast Iowa SCORE chapter, which opened a Fairfield operation during the time of this grant.

A mentorship offers five one-hour free personal consultations over a 2-4 month period from an M.U.M. business professor or SCORE member. To qualify, a business must have less than 50 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenues, be located in Jefferson County, and have an issue on which the consultation could help the company increase employment or save jobs that are at risk.

Any companies that are interested in a mentorship can send an email to biztraining@mum.edu or call Goodman at 451-1793.

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