From the November 1996 issue of Entrepreneur

Opening a fashion-oriented retail store takes more than good taste and a sense of style. To help new and would-be fashion retailers get over the hurdles, the Dallas Market Center has created a "university" offering a series of seminars as well as a traveling educational program.

The start-up seminars, usually held the first Monday of the month at the Dallas Market Center, give participants a two-hour crash course on what it takes to launch a successful retail store. Subjects include market feasibility, cash flow, location and business financing.

The mobile programs are half-day workshops for retailers already in business and cover topics such as how to stay competitive, customer service, marketing and financial management. The Dallas Market Center plans to take the workshops on the road in 1998 to some 15 U.S. cities. For more information, call (800) 325-6587.

NATIONAL:

Midrange Financing Offered

In an attempt to fill the funding gap that exists between low-level seed money and high-level venture capital, the U.S. Investor Network Inc. has created a pilot project that links investors and entrepreneurs via the Internet and CD-ROM.

The project targets entrepreneurs who have one to 100 employees and are seeking $25,000 to $2 million. Business owners can list information about their firms on the Investor Network's home page for six months for $25. The information can be accessed by accredited investors, who will see data on a company's specialty, the past year's revenues and profits, how much capital the entrepreneur is trying to raise, and a 10-line description of the company.

Entrepreneurs also have the option of producing a multimedia presentation on CD-ROM about their company and the potential investment. Investors who contact the Investor Network seeking more information on a business get a copy of the CD-ROM. Entrepreneurs can use a kit the organization provides to produce the CD-ROMs or can pay the network to do it.

For those who don't want to create a CD-ROM presentation, the Investor Network will simply put interested investors in touch with the entrepreneur.

For more information, contact U.S. Investor Network founder Peter Bechtel at (919) 783-0614.

ARIZONA:

Kit Smooths Road To Owning A Restaurant

Almost everything you ever wanted to know about opening a restaurant in Arizona but were afraid to ask is available in a kit created by the Arizona Restaurant Association.

The Mentor Kit informs would-be food-service vendors about state, federal and local regulations and laws, as well as some of the common pitfalls encountered when opening such a business. The association also holds a series of seminars that expand on information found in the kit. For details, call (800) 888-0701.

CONNECTICUT:

Center Boots Up Global Database

The Connecticut Small Business Development Center (SBDC) puts the whole world in your hands with the International Trade Data Network.

The free service provides access to a computer database of reports on countries, industries and markets around the globe, as well as a directory of contacts, publications, domestic trading companies and more.

A "miscellaneous" category features currency exchange rates, statistics and demographics, and even forms a business owner might need to fill out. There is also an "opportunities" section that lists leads for companies and contacts in various countries who are looking for specific American-made products.

The database, updated daily, is accessible through the SBDC's offices as well as the University of Connecticut libraries in Storrs and Hartford. Call (860) 241-4985 to sign up for a free training session.

Contact Sources

Arizona Restaurant Association, 2701 N. 16th St., #221, Phoenix, AZ 85006;

Connecticut Small Business Development Center, University of Connecticut, 1800 Asylum Rd., West Hartford, CT 06117;

Dallas Market Center, 2100 Stemmons Fwy., 5th Fl., Dallas, TX 75207, "a href="mailto:dmc@dallasmarketcenter.com">dmc@dallasmarketcenter.com

North Carolina Investor Network, P.O. Box 20161, Raleigh, NC 27619-0161, http://ncin.i40.com/ncin