After hearing from community members that there is a need for more targeted entrepreneurial training in Flint’s neighborhoods, University Outreach’s Innovation Incubator sought funding to develop a business boot camp that can be used with populations across the community. The Innovation Incubator was awarded a $49,050 grant from the Ruth Mott Foundation to implement the North Flint Economic Prosperity program, which will begin this September.
The incubator plans to offer at least three boot camps in various north Flint neighborhoods. The locations include the first and third wards, the Civic Park neighborhood and the neighborhood surrounding the Hispanic Technology Center. The five session boot camp will include both faculty instruction and speaking engagements by local successful entrepreneurs that can serve as role models for participants. Teenagers and adults will be taught together to give both groups a broader perspective and to encourage more diverse business teams to form. At the end of the boot camp, teenagers are eligible to participate in a culminating business pitch competition for prizes to support their venture.
All of the boot camps are being offered for free and will run for five sessions each between February and June 2017. In the fall semester, students will also help collect data from pre-existing business owners in these neighborhoods regarding business climate, availability of business support services and obstacles to growth. Visit go.umflint.edu/in to register or for more information.