Fresno Pacific helps people launch businesses with unique program

Organizers say the next 10-week course begins September 15 and includes everything from resources to a business coach.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno plumber Benny Ruiz is embarking on a new chapter in his business.

"I opened up and realized running a business and working a business are two different things, so I had to get it structured properly to be successful," Ruiz said.

Ruiz got some important knowledge after graduating from Launch Central Valley, a business start-up boot camp put on the Fresno Pacific University Center for Community Transformation.

Organizers say the next 10-week course begins September 15 and includes everything from resources to a business coach.

"That sparked our ability to serve folks who have a business idea and want a safe space to tweak it or what we say is fail fast, fail small and fail forward," said Carlos Huerta with FPU Launch Central Valley.

Heurta said courses would be offered weekly via Zoom because of the pandemic.

It costs $150 to enroll.

Bookkeeper Tabitha Bogdanov says she learned about branding and found ways to connect with other owners.

"To have that community or join that community of people that are all kind of dealing with the same things, but they might be in different phases of it was one of the biggest comforts I got from the program," Bogdanov said.

With three cohorts under their belt, they've worked with 44 businesses, and 32 of those have started.

"I feel like our start-up success rate has been fantastic. It's almost double or triple the national average that you see across the country," Huerta said.

Organizers say not only is the program helping people start their own companies, it's creating more diversity in the economy.

The Launch Central Valley Program is about to launch its fourth series.

The virtual classes run from September 15 through November 17.

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