The Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Certificate is offered through Northampton Community College Follett Family Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The 168-contact hour certificate focuses on the nuts and bolts of owning and managing a small business. The certificate is divided into the following four components; product development, customer discovery & development, financing and recruiting that affects all small businesses and startups. Length of each course in the program is between 5 to 9 weeks and participants can successfully complete the certificate in a minimum of 14 weeks. Participants also have the flexibility of taking individual courses within the program without pursuing a certificate. At the end of each course, participants will develop a plan that they can implement in their existing business or an idea that they have been contemplating about.
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Who Should Pursue This Certificate?
This certificate is ideal for individuals currently owning and/or managing a small business or thinking seriously about starting one
All courses in the certificate are delivered on a hybrid format. All course materials are accessible to the participants online. In addition, participants can interact with the course facilitators over scheduled weekly video conferencing sessions. The weekly video conferencing sessions allow participants to ask questions, provide feedback and network with their peers.
The certificate also has a mentoring component. At their discretion, the facilitator will invite individuals who have successfully managed and grown businesses and specific subject matter experts to participate in the video conferencing sessions. Participants get an opportunity to seek advice on their business from the mentors.
The cost of the certificate is $1,600. Individual course fee is $595 if you chose not to pursue the certificate. Fees includes text-books for the courses.
CIENC 400: Product Development (54 Hours)
For any small business to survive and thrive, continuous product and service development is vital. But this process is expensive. In this course participants learn what role “design thinking” plays in crafting products and services your customers want. In addition, participants will; learn how to judge competing concepts, understand characteristics of poor design, prepare a product/ service development plan and appreciate the challenges and opportunities related to bringing new product/ service to market.
• Prepare a product/ service development plan
• Design and record product/ service specifications
• Design, test and deliver what the end user wants
• Describe the patenting process and IP considerations
• Judge competing product/ service concepts
CIENC 401: Customer Discovery (54 Hours)
Getting, keeping and growing customer is key to the success of any business. In this context, think about how marketing and sales have changed in the last 20 years and the role social media has played in transforming how companies market their products and services to potential customers. Social media has put enormous power in the hands of the consumer and every small business has to understand what customers think about their product or service. Research shows that most small businesses do not fully understand the customer development process. This course focuses on what small businesses need to do in order to get, keep and grow their customer base. The course also focuses on strategies to obtain customer feedbacks before introducing a new product or service. Participants will learn how to evaluate different social media tools and effectively implement it to find new customers and keep existing ones. In addition, participants will also learn about the different costs involved in building a customer base.
• Understand the customer discovery process
• Understand how to position your product or service with your customers
• Learn how to effectively evaluate and implement different social media tools
CIENC 402: Business Financing (30 Hours)
Finding new sources of capital is critical for any small business. This course explores alternative means of financing that small business owners can utilize. The course also explores means such as understanding how to utilize cash flow to leverage borrowing capabilities, factoring purchase orders and accounts receivable, working with local chamber of commerce and economic development groups to explore local financing opportunities, understanding when and how to use SBA financing, and explore factors that banks and non-bank entities will evaluate. In addition, the course also looks into when and how to bring outside investors and evaluate the pros and cons of debt vs. equity financing. The course also emphasizes the importance of maintaining a strong personal credit profile.
• Understand how to utilize traditional financing to grow your business
• Understand how to utilize non-traditional financing to grow your business
• Learn how to create and interpret pro-forma financial statements
• Learn how to create investor presentations
CIENC 403: Smart Recruiting & Retention (30 Hours)
As a small business owner, hiring and managing qualified employees is never easy. This course focuses on innovative strategies to bring new employees onboard, build teams, and design policies to motivate and retain employees. The course exposes participants to state and federal employment laws, creative compensation strategies and promoting diversity within a small business. In addition, the course also teaches participants on how to measure the effectiveness of various online recruiting tools.
• Learn how to get, keep and develop high performing employees
• Understand local, state and federal laws regarding employee rights
• Develop a long-term human resource strategy for your business
If you are interested in pursuing the certificate or the individual courses your registration deadline is Thursday, September 16th
Director, Follett Family Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship
Northampton Community College
511 E. Third Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015