Free Seminars Focus on Business Services

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Center for Workforce Education at Fairmont State Community & Technical College, in partnership with Workforce West Virginia, is presenting an "open house" day on Thursday, Feb. 9, at its facilities on the ground floor of the Veterans' Square building in downtown Fairmont.

This location, at 320 Adams Street, Suite G01, will be the site of seminars and workshops to be held throughout the day. A free networking lunch will be provided. Participants are encouraged to attend any or all sessions, as their schedule allows. The free computer training workshop has morning and afternoon sessions to allow persons with limited time to fit this activity into their schedules.

The day's activities start with a welcome and introductions, held from 10 to 10:15 a.m. A computer training session will immediately follow, running from 10:15 a.m. to noon. Ollin Landers of the New Horizons computer learning center at Fairmont State will present this hands-on mentored learning seminar on PC Security, Virus and Spam Protection.

"At the conclusion of this course you'll be aware of common security threats and their countermeasures," Landers said. "You'll learn know how to take the necessary steps to protect your computer by addressing critical topics like setting passwords, ensuring e-mail and browser privacy, activating real time anti-virus protection and thwarting hackers."

At an 11 to 11:30 a.m. session, Tim James, Fairmont Regional Small Business Development Center Manager, will discuss the business services available through this office. The Regional SBDC serves North Central West Virginia through a program of free business assistance. Assistance includes a variety of services such as business consulting, problem solving, business start-up assistance, loan packaging and small business training.

"The SBDC promotes economic development through a program of practical, interrelated services, providing assistance to existing small businesses and the emerging entrepreneur," James said. "The WVSBDC provides many free services that can assist you in your business venture. If you need financial help and/or consulting, then you have come to the right place."

From 11:30 a.m. to noon, Paul Schreffler, Fairmont State's Director of Economic Development & Workforce Education, will introduce and demonstrate a new online offering, SmallBizU.

"Entrepreneurship is the mastery of economic creativity. As a discipline, it has the power to transcend all organizations," Schreffler said. "The term refers not to an enterprise's size or age but to a certain kind of activity. At the heart of that activity is innovation: the effort to create purposeful, focused change in a venture's economic or social potential. Entrepreneurship is not magic, and it's not mysterious. It's a discipline. And, like any discipline, it can be learned and improved upon." 

"SmallBizU is an online university created especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It is state-of-the-art small business education. Each course is delivered via the internet full of animated slides accompanied by voice-over narration, PowerPoint presentations, worksheets, toolsets, and access to a comprehensive knowledgebase.

"SmallBizU tells you how it's actually done in a small business, not in a textbook. From new ventures, to business managers, to entrepreneurs, to master level classes, we have a range of courses across all functional areas of small business."

A free networking lunch will be provided from noon to 1 p.m. After lunch, from 1 to 3 p.m., concurrent with another computer training session, an interactive seminar on strategic planning will be presented by John Griggs of Success Planning, LLC. Titled "Shift Happens," it discusses the reasons a small business should develop a Strategic Plan as a companion document to the Business Plan, looking three to five years into the future.

"The opportune times (from a time spent and cost view) for developing the plan or updating the plan are discussed in this seminar," Griggs said. "The importance of a periodic review of the plan implementation against current market conditions, when and how is also emphasized in this seminar."

From 4 to 5:30 p.m., Hope Stephan, Editor of the Times West Virginian newspaper, will present a seminar on Publications and Publicity. Many companies, especially small businesses, are challenged by the high cost of marketing. This session will provide information to help them make the most of the money that is spent on getting the word out about your business.

"We have planned a full day of activities, but also understand that the small businessperson may not have time to devote a full day to seminars and workshops. I encourage you to select a session that will have the most impact upon your company and attend one or more of these free sessions. If nothing else, please come join us for lunch," Schreffler said.

For more information or to register for any or all of the events, call the Center for Workforce Education at Fairmont State at (304) 367-4920.