National - Business today is moving forward at the speed of light, and if entrepreneurs want to remain competitive, continuously training employees can no longer be considered a luxury, but a necessity. Unfortunately, the cost of sending workers to off-site training sessions might make you think twice before making such an investment.
Enter PBS' The Business Channel (TBC). Created in December 1996, this satellite learning network allows employers to bring its training to their location or send employees to partner sites nationwide for instruction. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Rhode Island recently became TBC's first SBDC partner.
Programming for the satellite broadcasts features noted business experts, such as Tom Peters and Harvey Mackay, and faculty from MIT. Sessions cover topics ranging from how to recruit, teach and keep talented workers to a special in-depth series on modern manufacturing that targets small and midsized firms. Upcoming topics include Y2K issues and creating successful work groups.
Entrepreneurs can access The Business Channel several ways:
- Become an alliance member for a $1,995 annual fee. This includes installation and setup of an 18-inch satellite dish, a 25 percent discount on individual educational programs, which are regularly priced from $100 to $1,000 each depending on the course, and free access to financial and business news channels such as CNN, CNBC and C-SPAN.
- Use the service on a pay-per-view basis. In this case, you're responsible for the satellite dish and must pay full price for the courses.
- Utilize one of the hundreds of sites nationwide broadcasting the courses.
- Go online. TBC has brought most of its educational programming to the Internet. This will allow any entrepreneur with access to the Web to participate in the training at http://www.pbstbc.com
For more information on the various programs or to find the location nearest you offering the courses, call (888) 822-8229.
Center Connects Women With Venture Capital
National - The center for Women and Enterprise in Boston, with financial backing from the Fleet Financial Group, has created a new program called the Venture Center to connect women entrepreneurs with both venture capital and individual investors. Though targeted toward women, the Venture Center's services are available to women and men nationwide.
The Venture Center provides a variety of services to help prepare entrepreneurs to meet investors, including a weekend business-plan boot camp. Business owners not able to attend a boot camp can contact the center for referrals to local organizations that can assist them in preparing a business plan.
Once an entrepreneur has his or her business plan in hand, center personnel work individually with business owners, either in person or over the phone, to craft strategies for approaching investors. Contact the Venture Center at (617) 423-3001, ext. 222 for more information.
Meet The Mayors
National - Ever wanted to get up close and personal with your mayor or those of other cities? Then consider joining the Mayors Business Council, organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
This advisory committee will enable entrepreneurs to meet with mayors from around the country at the council's annual conference, held in New Orleans this year in June. Members can also meet with senior staff, lobbyists and the executive director of the Conference of Mayors four times each year for policy briefings.
"This advisory council is a good idea for companies that sell lots of products to cities or that want to get more involved in policy or legislatively oriented activities," says Sharon Oxley, managing director of the council.
The cost to join is $10,000 annually; Oxley says the fee can also be paid by industry trade groups or associations. However, only members of the organizations would be eligible to attend the mayor meetings.
For more information on the Mayors Business Council, call Oxley at (202) 293-7330.
The Center for Women and Enterprise in Boston,firstname.lastname@example.org