Business Certificate Success
In August 2014, the EED Business Certificate Program (BCP) provided six classes (three hours each) at the YWCA’s Frances McClelland Leadership Center YWCA with 117 participants. Compared to 67 participants last year, this was an increase of 75%. Eller professors taught Management, Marketing, Sales, Accounting, and Legal Issues and Contracts with a panel session by local successful business owners. Evaluations were high with an average rating of 5.93 for “improved my skills” (where 6 is highest), 5.95 for “helped define my goals,” and 5.98 for overall experience. Ninety-five participants responded to this survey.
In spring 2015, the BCP was presented at the YWCA in Spanish to 108 participants, a slight increase from 102 participants in 2014. Participant evaluations from 102 participants were as follows: an average of 5.98 for “improved my skills,” 5.94 for “helped me define my goals,” and 5.94 for overall experience.
Following are several comments from course participants:
- Thank you so much for these classes and for the wonderful professors teaching us.
- Congratulations, this is the best business course I have ever been exposed to.
- Very happy with the whole course, very important for my future.
- Thank you for this course, it has been very productive. I suggest you keep supporting us. This is the first time an organization cares about us small businesses owners.
- We need more classes and support like this within our community.
Business Consulting Success
Eller College student Alex discusses his positive experience in BNAD 445 Small Business Consulting, which works with the Eller Economic Development program to assist small, often minority-owned businesses in Southern Arizona.
In July, 2015, we completed the third full year of service and now have evidence of our program’s effectiveness. We recently surveyed a sample of 16 of the 21 businesses that participated in the consulting experience. (Disclaimer: information is self-reported because the businesses, in general, do not have audited financial statements. Likely there is an upward bias in the owners’ estimates.)
- The average reported increase in revenues was 21% with a range from 0% to 80%.
- At the time these businesses applied to our program, they employed a total of 50 full time and 26 part time workers which increased to 92 full time and 30 part time by mid-July 2015.
- Most businesses reported small decreases in expenses. One business reported an increase of $2,000,000 in revenue since 2014, but did not provide the percent increase and so is not included in the average.
- Several clients commented that students showed them the importance of prioritizing activities to get to their goals and a number of clients wanted more time with student groups because it was so helpful.
- Students provided market research to help locate potential customers. For example, a student consulting team identified local nursing homes and day care centers with large vans and encouraged the owner of an automotive repair shop with a big lift to visit these organizations and discuss his services for maintenance contracts. A number of new customers took advantage of his services.
- Students identified an adjacent zip code with young families and relatively higher incomes for a day care. After advertising to these families, the daycare hit 100% capacity and has remained at capacity since.
One of our first clients was making tortillas in her kitchen and has now moved to a commercial kitchen and gained a contract with Trader Joe’s to supply the Tucson and Phoenix stores with whole wheat vegan tortillas.