Entrepreneurial Training

The Entrepreneurial Training Program consists of a 3-week Level I Entrepreneurial Training Class and a 8-week Level II Business Plan Writing. Level I is geared toward emerging entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a business but need guidance to narrow their idea, determine feasibility, and lay a solid foundation for business success. Level II trains individuals who are already clear on their business idea. They may have already established a business and wish to create a business plan to secure financing or strategically plan for business growth.

Level 1
  • Entrepreneurial Skills & Mindset
  • Assessing Your Business Ideas
  • Setting Goals
  • Market Research
  • Creating a Business Plan Outline
Level 2
  • Raising Capital & Financial Planning
  • Marketing & Sales Strategies
  • Operations Planning
  • Legal & Personnel
  • Crafting a Comprehensive Business Plan


The primary purpose of the Level I training is to assist emerging entrepreneurs with understanding the total concept of business formation and evaluating the potential for success. With its focus on the beginning steps needed to establish a business, the course prepares would-be entrepreneurs for the more comprehensive, eight-week Level II training course.

Course Curriculum

Session 1 – Introduction to Business Concepts and Planning

  • Defining and understanding basic business concepts (what is a business; types of businesses; selling methods)
  • Identifying business success skills (personal, technical and strategic)
  • The importance of planning for business start-up and expansion (identifying market research strategies; how to set and implement goals)
  • Overview of business structures
  • Home assignment—‘Identifying Business Skills’ and ‘Defining Your Business Idea’

Session 2 – Market Research

  • Read and discuss ‘Identifying Business Skills’ and ‘Defining Your Business Idea’ home assignment (a few students will be chosen)
  • Identifying specific market research activities and strategies (four areas covered: industry, competitors, target market and product benefits; how to conduct, analyze and profile research results)

Session 3 – Determining Feasibility

  • Read and discuss ‘Identifying Business Skills’ and ‘Defining Your Business Idea’ home assignment (remainder of students will share)
  • Estimating total sales potential and first year sales projections
  • Developing a pricing strategy, methods and profit characteristics
  • Estimating monthly expenses at start-up
  • Calculating breakeven and breakeven point

Course Curriculum

Session 1 – LA BusinessSource Center and Vermont Slauson EDC Introduction

  • Business Planning, Entrepreneurship Mindset, Business Environment Map
  • Legal Business forms and Taxation, Project Plans for each Student
  • NAICS and SIC Codes Industry Classifications

Session 2 – Business Plan Body of Information

  • NAICS Codes, Industry Resources, and Business Census Data
  • Mission and Vision Statement – Company Market Opportunities; Customer; Product and Service; Marketing; Management; Operations, Finance, Strategies and EVA.

Session 3 – Marketing Plan

Market Research Planning Sources, Product/Services, Pricing Strategy, Promotional Strategy, Placement/Distribution

Session 4 – Marketing, Plan Breakeven

Product price for Service vs. Products, Variable Cost verses Fixed Cost, Breakeven Sales Analysis, Breakeven Plus Profit Analysis

Session 5 – Accounting and Financial Management

Basic Financial Statements, Accounting Cycle – Quick Books Model, Financial Statement Analysis, Tax Accounting verses Financial Accounting, Tax Stimulus Information

Session 6 – Financial Planning and Forecasting

Sales Projections, Expense Projections, Profit and Lost Projections Performa Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Projections, Ratios and Bench Marks

Session 7 – Management and Operations Planning

Location Analysis Physical Location vs. Web Presence, Lease Terms and Regulatory Codes and Licensing, Management Team and Organizational Staffing, Risk Management and Insurance, Presentation of Business Plan Case

Session 8 – Business Planning, Finance and Exit Strategies

Business Loan Case and Exit Strategies, Student Business Plan Executive Summary Presentations, Presentations of Certificates of Completions, Closing Remarks

Business Plan is Due by Session 8

Is there a fee?

There is no fee to participate in the program; only an investment of time and energy, and a commitment to fulfilling the course requirements and executing your business idea.

How long is the program?

The Level I class is a two-hour session that meets once a week for 3 weeks. The Level II class is a three-session that meets once a week for 8 weeks. However, upon entering the program, VSEDC conducts follow-up with participants and provides ongoing support for two years.

What are the requirements to enroll in the Entrepreneurial Training Program?

Participants in the program are typically in the planning stages of starting a business or currently running a business.

To enroll in the program, participants are required to:

  • Complete an application which includes stating current income
  • If a City of Los Angeles resident, provide California identification or other documentation (i.e. utility bill) to verify L.A. address
  • Report on aspects of their business over a two year period—revenues, business licenses obtained or articles of incorporation filed, and jobs created/retained—and commit to submitting verification documents

Do I have to currently run a business to participate in the program?

No. If you are not currently operating a business, you should enroll in the Level I class which is designed to guide you through the process of narrowing your business idea and determining its feasibility. Though you are not required to have a business license or DBA to take the Level I class, participants are encouraged to apply for their business license or DBA within 2-4 weeks after taking the Level I class.

I have various business ideas, should I take the Level I or II class?

If you are just starting your business and are unclear about which specific idea you will execute, you should take the Level I class. The class will provide tools to assist you with researching your ideas to determine which is most feasible.

Should I wait until I have written my business plan and applied for a business license, corporation, tax ID number, etc. before participating in ETP?

Level I participants are not required to have completed the business plan or possess any licenses. However, as the Level II class is focused on assisting individuals with launching or expanding the business, we strongly encourage participants of the Level II course to have obtained a business license and/or DBA before enrolling in the class. Workshops are offered on a monthly covering an overview of business legal structures and in-depth guidance on completing the LA City Business License and LA County Fictitious Business Name forms. See Program Calendar for upcoming sessions.

I am interested in starting a non-profit organization. Is the Entrepreneurial Training Program appropriate for me?

Yes. In the increasingly competitive non-profit funding environment, it is essential for non-profit managers to demonstrate adequate planning, capacity to implement and prospects for success. ETP provides an opportunity to conduct in-depth planning on the aspects of a non-profit. The business plan writing class, especially, allows for prospective non-profit leaders to consider the proposed demographic to be served (market), the operations and management structure, and financial outlook of the non-profit. Additionally, previous participants have used the business plan as a template for grant applications that often require similar information (i.e. organization’s history, capacity to implement proposed programs, etc.)

When are the classes offered?

View the Program Calendar for upcoming classes.

Where is the class located?

The classes are hosted at VSEDC’s Business Enterprise Center located at 6109 S. Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90047. Classes also take place at the sites of partner organizations.

I have so many questions about starting a business and don’t know where to begin! What to do?

Breathe! Entrepreneurship is an exciting but overwhelming prospect with many variables to consider. The Entrepreneurial Training Program offers a foundation to explore the multiple aspects of business ownership and establish a roadmap for success.


A certificate of completion is awarded upon satisfactory attendance, and submission of required coursework and eligibility documents. The certificate can be utilized to demonstrate to prospective lenders that entrepreneurial training has been undertaken. Want to know more about the registration process? Starting a nonprofit and don’t know if ETP is for you? Read the frequently asked questions to the left.


To view upcoming ETP classes, visit the Program Calendar.