CONWAY — Always wanted to BYOB (Be Your Own Boss)? Change your life this fall by starting your own business or improving your existing one. Beginning Sept. 19, WREN will be offering their popular BETA (Business and Entrepreneurial Technical Assistance) program in the Conway area.
Taught by Betsy Gemmecke, formerly of Granite State College, this eight-week course integrates the nationally known, award-winning Core Four business planning curriculum with WREN's own brand of business coaching and networking. Appropriate for both new and existing business owners, the course covers successful strategies for business including marketing, financial management and operations planning. It provides students with a clear understanding of the marketplace, as well as techniques for staying focused on personal and entrepreneurial goals.
Participants of last winter's North Conway BETA class gave very favorable reports on what they got out of the program. "This class was amazing, very informative, with steps to take to get your business up and running," said one student. Another said, "It outlined the full picture of all the pieces to give a business a better chance of success. I have a better idea of what I need to do and know that my idea is achievable."
Since 2007, over 250 women and men have graduated from BETA programs held throughout northern New Hampshire, from Plymouth to Colebrook. "In these uncertain economic times, everybody needs a plan B," says Marilinne Cooper, Executive Director of WREN. "The BETA program can help you get started or give you the tools to grow your existing enterprise."
The program runs on Wednesday evenings, from Sept. 19 through Nov. 14, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Mount Washington Valley Arts Association at 16 Norcross Place in North Conway village. The cost of the course is $95 for members of WREN or members of the Mt. Washington Valley Arts Association and $145 for non-members, and includes a $50 training manual. Scholarships are always available; no one is ever turned away from the opportunity to participate in the BETA program.
Starting with a pilot program for 12 entrepreneurs in 1994, today WREN's membership has grown to over 1100 members, men and women, half of whom own their own businesses. WREN's store, Local Works Marketplace, currently provides market access opportunities to 230 member vendors and has recently expanded to offer a unique selection of local wines and foods. The Gallery at WREN exhibits a new art show every month of the year and the Local Works Farmers Market connects local entrepreneurs and food growers with the greater community, and has been a catalyst for spotlighting Bethlehem as a cultural and commercial destination for both locals and tourists. In 2010 WREN expanded their reach to Berlin, where they now operate a second farmers market and a satellite office and has recently begun offering their business program in North Conway.