Kauffman's FastTrac Offers Help to Struggling Entrepreneurs

Banking on entrepreneurs to help turn the nation's economy around, a group of small business advocates this week unveiled a newly refurbished initiative to develop entrepreneurial training programs in neighborhoods that have been damaged by layoffs and the recession.

Carl Schramm, the president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, announced the FastTrac LaunchPad program (pdf) in New York with city Mayor Michael Bloomberg. New York's venture is slated to begin in March.

The foundation also has partnered with the Deluxe Corporation Foundation, which offered $500,000 to fund the effort.

"Entrepreneurs will be the foundation of our nation's economic recovery because they start and grow businesses that create jobs," said Schramm.

The FastTrac program has been operating for about 15 years, and more than 300,000 entrepreneurs have participated in its programs throughout the United States to learn how to start and grow businesses. However, the foundation said that in light of accelerating unemployment, it redesigned the program to offer shorter time periods than the normal 10-week course schedule.

The FastTrac LaunchPad programs are designed for people who have lost their jobs or entrepreneurs whose businesses are struggling in the current economy.

In addition to New York, Michigan and West Virginia are implementing the programs, along with new efforts in Kokomo, Ind., and Philadelphia. Right Management will be offering the FastTrac LaunchPad programs to displaced workers through the outplacement services offered by the company in Midwestern states, starting in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota.

The FastTrac LaunchPad initiative includes two programs. FastTrac NewVenture, which offers training and education focused on exploring starting a business; and FastTrac GrowthVenture, which helps current business owners navigate the challenges of their existing small business.

By Sharon McLoone |  February 23, 2009; 2:00 PM ET Tools and Tips
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