Free classes planned for would-be entrepreneurs

Both programs administered through Capacity Builders Inc.

Leigh Black Irvin
Capacity Builders Inc. Case Manager Jen Raymond and Grant Manager Larry Raymond will help the agency provide free classes for aspiring business owners next month.

FARMINGTON — Free classes to help those aspiring to start a business are being offered next month in Farmington and Kirtland.

The Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs is offered by Capacity Builders Inc., which manages 26 grants in the Four Corners area, most of which are geared toward enhancing tribal nonprofit organizations and communities through training and support programs.

The courses, which are funded through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, are open to anyone interested in becoming a business owner, regardless of tribal membership.

Larry Raymond, grant manager for Capacity Builders, said the classes are being taught by Kayt Peck, an educator and consultant from Las Vegas, Nev., who has helped more than 40 businesses start on the Navajo Nation.

"The class covers how to go about starting a business. While it's focused largely on the Navajo Nation, it could apply to any would-be business owner in a rural area," Peck said.

Peck said the focus is largely on the Navajo Nation but applies to would-be business owners.

"We talk about how to identify needs, steps to start a business, how to write a business plan for a successful business," Peck said.

The classes in Farmington will be from May 1-26 and from June 5-30 in Kirtland.

"It's a one-month course that takes place once a week, and the classes will be broken down into different curriculum," Raymond said. "We'll find out what businesses people want to pursue, such as nonprofit or for-profit, and will focus on different aspects of those types of businesses."

Course topics will include financial requirements for opening a business, gross receipts tax issues, IRS reporting and marketing strategies for new businesses.

"We hope to continue with this program after the three-month grant period is over. We'll do an evaluation on how the program went and how it helped the community, and then we'll reapply for the grant," Raymond said.

For more information, contact Capacity Builders at 505-326-4245 and ask for the PRIME office.

A second program at Capacity Builders is geared toward helping individuals prepare for the GED examination in addition to developing construction skills.

YouthBuild is an eight-month program for individuals between 16 and 24 years old.

Jen Raymond, case manager for the program, said this is the first time Capacity Builders has received the three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to facilitate the program.

It is also open to individuals who have earned a high school diploma and are seeking to increase their job skills, Raymond said.

Students will learn basic job communication skills and basic safety, resulting in a certificate from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Other classes are introductory courses for construction math, hand tools, power tools, construction drawings, basic rigging and materials handling.

Participants enrolled in GED classes will complete an assessment test, then the course will be specialized to fit their needs, Raymond said.

She added GED students will divide their time between preparation classes and construction skills training.

As part of the construction skills training, students will renovate a house in Shiprock, and training will be conducted by an instructor certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research.

Participants will receive a monthly stipend of $220, and transportation will be provided by Capacity Builders, Raymond said.

For more information, call YouthBuild at 505-608-7102.

Reporter Noel Lyn Smith contributed to this report.

Leigh Black Irvin is the business editor for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4621.