October 09, 2014 6:20 am by Daily Journal

The Southeast Economic Development Fund, Inc. (SEED$) will be holding Lean Startup basic classes both Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. starting Oct. 21 and ending on Oct. 30.

SEED$ was developed two years ago to aid entrepreneurs and small business owners in building their business. The organization covers an eight-county area: St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Washington, Madison, Iron, Perry, Bollinger, and Cape Girardeau.

SEED$ is in-part funded by federal funds given by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Missouri Department of Social Services, Family Support Division and the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

The “Lean Startup: Basics” class is an introduction to a vastly-improved process to create and launch successful new products and businesses.

Lean Startup philosophies are changing the way startups do business and existing companies build new products across the globe. The basics introduces entrepreneurs and small business owners the tools to minimize risk by systematically building products customers want.

SEED$ Business Development Coach Janey Radford said this isn’t your typical startup business class.

“The classes that are coming up are not like any other training we have done before,” said Radford. “In the past, traditional small business training meant that you’re going to go to a class and they’re going to teach you how to put together a business plan. You can write a wonderful business plan but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good ideal.”

According to Radford, most first-time customer contact with a business plan fails. It’s reported that 75 percent of businesses fail within their first year.

“Lean methodology started up two to three years ago and it eliminates a lot of the risk in starting a business,” said Radford. “Making sure you have done everything you need to do to make your business successful.”

The way the Lean Startup: Basics plan works is doing away with putting together a business plan first, but to actually come up with a business model. The class will take the students through some steps to come up with a business product and ideal, and by the end of the class, people will have a better understanding or perhaps a business model where they can work off from to create a business plan.

SEED$ is partnering up with Paradime, who will have an instructor teach the class. Paradime is a Lean Startup co-entrepreneurial services group that puts startups on a path beyond launch, to profitability and scalability. Right now the group is made up of five different co-entrepreneurs who have all owned and operated successful businesses.

Dr. James Stapleton will be teaching the classes for SEED$ in Park Hills. For the past 25 years he has spent his time as an entrepreneur, entrepreneurship teacher and coach, and entrepreneurship development leader.

Stapleton is the executive director at the Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is also an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State (SEMO) University in Cape Girardeau.

Stapleton has orchestrated the growth of Operation JumpStart, a community-based training program that has given a start to over 1,500 individuals that have launched nearly 500 businesses in 10 states.

His efforts at SEMO have attracted over $8.5 million of public and private investment from government, private, and alumni partners.

During his career, Stapleton has provided leadership to other national organizations including the University Economic Development Association and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, has made several presentations to the American Assoc. of State Colleges and Universities, and provided dozens of national presentations to private and public organizations.

“I can’t imagine a better course that has been offered in regards to a good quality program and quality teacher,” said Radford. “Whoever gets in this class is going to have an amazing opportunity.”

Seating is limited to only 25 people in the class. Radford says there are still some seats open, but are filling up fast. To reserve a spot in the class contact SEED$ at 573-431-4296 by Oct. 10.

Classes will be held at the SEED$ office in Park Hills on 5 Municipal Dr. The class costs $50 per person, however, upon completion of the class $25 will be returned back.