Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP)

ETP is an intensive business-planning training program designed to help participants who want to start a new business, grow an existing business, or make a substantial business pivot that requires viewing the business with a new perspective.

Please read on to understand requirements and to ensure your business’ eligibility for this program.

The focus of the program is to help you complete a comprehensive “rough draft” of your business plan in the form of a written workbook. Each session of class will help you learn business terminology and work toward putting your ideas on paper so that, by the end of class, you have made significant progress toward launching your business or writing a more comprehensive business plan.

Registration Spring 2024

Location: Live Virtual portion & In-Person portion at Grainger Hall (Wisconsin School of Business) UW-Madison*

LIVE VIRTUAL SESSIONS Dates & Times – Thursdays from 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm

  • February 22 | Session 1 – Introduction, Business Model Canvas, Value Proposition
  • February 29 | Session 2 – Customer Segments & Market Research
  • March 7 | Session 3 – Marketing Fundamentals
  • March 14 | Session 4 – Business Financials
  • March 21 | Session 5 –  Business Operations

IN PERSON SESSION*:  8:00 am – 4:30 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

* Please note that for this course, there are both live-virtual and in-person components; you must be able to attend both components to successfully complete the course.

Register Online Here or call 608-262-2451 to register. Registration cut-off date: February 21, 2024

Fee & course requirements: $249

The $249 reduced cost of this $1,000 course is being funded in part by our generous supporters – Summit Credit Union, Neider & Boucher, S.C., and M3 Elevate. In addition, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provides significant financial support to the ETP program. See requirements section below for additional information.

        Summit Credit Union logo         Neider & Boucher logo     

Note about multiple participants (business partners): All participants in the course must be registered. Businesses can add additional business partners for $99 per person (must be working together on the same business). Each business will submit one workbook, regardless of the number of class participants. If you would like to add additional participants, please call the SBDC at the number listed in the footer of this page.

Registration & Cancellation policies

  • Payment will be required at time of registration. You must have either a credit card or valid UW-Madison funding string to be able to register.
  • Cancelations at least 24 hours before the program begins will incur a $25 cancellation fee. Cancelations less than 24 hours before the start of the program will incur the full program fee. To cancel, call registration at 608-262-2451. Please note that in the case of a cancellation (by either the participant or the SBDC), participants can only be transferred one time into a new course.

Disability Statement: Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at sbdc@bus.wisc.edu to request accommodations.

Requirements and Cost

Participating in ETP means receiving a wealth of resources and support to help you develop your business-plan workbook. Because this $1000 program is made affordable to you through partial support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), successful course completion requires:

  • Attend at least 4/5 live-virtual sessions
  • Attend at least 75% of the full-day session
  • Successfully complete your business plan workbook

Eligible Businesses

Because of the partial grant funding associated with this program, businesses interested in participating must:

  • Be a for-profit business currently located in Wisconsin, or the owner must be planning to start a Wisconsin-based business
  • Be re-examining their currently operating business or plan to start a new business within the next 24 months
  • Not have declared bankruptcy in the past 12 months
  • Not have previously received an Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP) grant in the past

“Comprehensive overview that provided so many resources for further exploration. Gives me much more confidence about the scope of what needs to happen and my ability to accomplish those things – even as an artsy, non-business, non-numbers person. I now I have a road map, woot-woot! This course was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Just top-notch. And a fabulous deal for the price. Incredible! So grateful for this opportunity!”
~HBB Studio, Spring 2022 participant

Program Structure

This course contains three primary components, all geared toward helping you complete your business workbook.

ETP starts with a 5-week live-virtual class. These 2.5-hour sessions provide you with an introduction to business basics and terminology. At the end of each session, you will receive direction about what corresponding workbook sections you should complete to stay on track.

  • Session 1: Course introduction and understanding the Business Model Canvas
  • Session 2: Business value proposition, identification of key customers and market in order to determine product/market fit
  • Session 3: Marketing Strategy
  • Session 4: Financial basics (key terms, pricing, managing cash flow, sources of financing) – for a deeper dive on this topic, join us for one of our financial management courses
  • Session 5: Legal and Operational Considerations (entity selection, HR Laws/policies, insurance/liability, etc.)

Program Structure

This course contains three primary components, all geared toward helping you complete your business workbook.

For most entrepreneurs, one of the most difficult parts of starting a business is knowing where to start. By joining the Entrepreneurial Training Program, we help you overcome that challenge by providing you with a comprehensive workbook of guided questions to help you sketch out the fundamentals of a business plan.

This comprehensive workbook (as paired with class content) walks you through all of the major areas of your business, including:

  • Creating your elevator pitch
  • Sketching out the building blocks of your business with your Business Model Canvas
  • Determining your target market/customer segment with market research
  • Considering industry trends, your competitors, and your marketing plan
  • Understanding key components of the major financial statements (your income statement, your balance sheet, and cash flow for your business) and business financing
  • Operational considerations (legal considerations, human resources, reducing risk)
  • And more!

Throughout our virtual course, we will introduce you to many of the key concepts and resources that can help you sketch out these areas of your workbook. From there, you will need to arrive at the full-day session with your workbook 75% completed. During the full-day session, you will then have the chance to ask more in-depth questions to experts, get feedback from your peers and SBDC consultants, and refine your workbook to turn in for a third-party review.

After class is over, you’ll have clarified your business idea and developed written objectives that will inform your next steps, the launch of your business, or the start of your formal business plan.

Program Structure

This course contains three primary components, all geared toward helping you complete your business workbook.

Throughout the course, you will work on completing your business-plan workbook. By the time you arrive at the full-day session, you should have your workbook 75% complete. At our full-day class session, you will have the opportunity to refine the work you have already done by:

  • Receiving peer feedback – and being able to ask questions of SBDC consultants
  • Learning more in-depth knowledge about:
    1. Understanding the lending process
    2. Accounting for your business
    3. Understanding how to estimate your market size – and how that information connects with your financial projections
    4. Entity selection for your business
    5. Key contracts you may need
    6. And more!

Looking for a lower-commitment opportunity to learn business basics? Biz Smart Sprint might be the best fit for you. For a comparison of the programs – the Entrepreneurial Training Program or Biz Smart Sprint –  visit this page.

Going through the [Entrepreneurial Training Program] was tremendously valuable and caused me to think through things in a way I hadn't considered previously. Considering most of my pursuits of late consist of ways to reframe problems, this class was fitting. It also was a great introduction to the entire cause and intent of the SBDC, which I think is just lovely and inspiring!

Kyle Smith, Owner, Tilesmith LLC

The value of this class was immeasurable, but, notably, the workbook provided me step-by-step help building a business plan, and the resources provided gave me everything I needed to complete it!

Brooke Hoffman Photo, 2023 Participant

[I appreciated] the dedicated time to think about all aspects of running a business. [This allowed me to] think of other areas I don’t typically work in.

Quest CE, 2023 Participant

The in-person meeting with all the professionals in their area was really informative. I would 100% attend another event like this if I could. -Ta.ee.noh Coffee

Ta.ee.noh Coffee, Spring 2023 participant

The [ETP] organizational framework was great. Learning about various aspects of creating a business plan was helpful. [I am] very grateful to learn and get this support and meet others who are in the same situation.

Fall 2022 Participant

Everyone was so kind and helpful, and I learned a ton of information. So grateful I discovered and was able to complete the course.

Firefox Bakery LLC, Fall 2022 participant

The entire course content was presented in a high-end format at a very low cost. Very impressive! Great team with great energy.

Simply Speaks LLC, Fall 2022 participant

The most valuable piece of this course was being able to talk and think out my business. It helped me reconstruct my idea.

Assured Home Health Care, Fall 2022 participant

I really valued how structured the whole course was. It put into perspective all the different aspects to think about. And finally made me sit down to think about the details to move my business forward.

Jalistic Coaching, Spring 2022 participant

"This course provided me with structure and accountability to work on my plans in a smarter way. It gave me the confidence to say 'I'm doing this!' and to make it real. There is a world out there that I had no idea about.

Spring 2022 participant

[I loved] the clarity of the workbook - I considered things I had not thought of. Thank you for a great experience; I understand the business world in greater detail.

Four Winds Gallery, Spring 2022 ETP participant