The Small Business Development Center at UW-Madison offers several open-enrollment opportunities to learn more if you are thinking about starting a business or actively engaged in the process of getting your business off the ground.
First, we recommend starting your exploration process with First Steps to Starting a Business. This free, interactive, online class will help you explore your business idea and assess your entrepreneurial readiness as well as identify your own strengths and weaknesses as a business owner. Discover what information you need and where to find it. The class includes downloadable worksheets, hands-on exercises, local entrepreneur stories, and additional resources to determine your next steps.
After you’ve taken First Steps, you can dive deeper into your learning with Biz Smart Sprint or the Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP). Which program is right for you? Visit the program websites, and view the comparison chart below to help you decide.
Compare: Biz Smart Sprint vs. the Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP)
|Course Element||Entrepreneurial Training Program (ETP)||Biz Smart Sprint|
|Timing||Offered in fall & spring semesters||Offered in the summer|
|Time commitment||20 hours of instructional time, plus out-of-class time to complete workbook requirement (anticipated 8-15 hours). Attendance is required at 75% of instructional time.||12.5 hours of instructional time. Come and go as you please.|
|This course is best suited for entrepreneurs who||…are serious about jump-starting their business
…have more complex business ideas that may require staffing, a physical location, product development and manufacturing, etc.
…currently own a business and wish to reevaluate their business plan
…currently own a business and wish to seek bank funding for the first time
…have a shorter (within a year) launch timeline
…wish to walk out of the class with written goals for their business
|…are exploring the idea of starting a business
…want a “101” or refresher on business basics and terminology but do not need a written plan
…have smaller or less complex businesses that do not require external funding (consultants, solopreneurs, service-based businesses that do not require extensive supplies or licensure)
…have a longer or unspecified launch timeline
|Tone and layout of the course||Structured, fast-paced course geared toward completion of your business workbook. This workbook can serve as an early draft of a full business plan. Because of the time spent on out-of-class work on the workbook, this course has a significantly higher time commitment.||Learning-focused course that provides you with a wide variety of business concepts and tools to help you independently consider different elements of your business. This class is designed to help you learn business basics and does not require a specific outcome.|
|No-cost individual business planning consulting from an SBDC Business Consultant (optional)||yes||yes|
|Independent, expert, third-party review of your completed business workbook||yes|
|Taught by an experienced business professional||yes||yes|
|Full-day additional instruction from specialized business experts, including SBDC consultants and professionals in law, accounting, market research, and business banking.||yes|
|Detailed step-by-step workbook requirement to help you create a concrete direction for your business||yes|
|Structured time to provide and receive feedback on your workbook||yes|
|CEU’s and a completion certificate upon completion of workbook for class||yes|
|Access to GrowthWheel online platform to help you create a simple business profile||yes|