Non-profit Pop Up Business School USA helping people start their own companies for free

Posted at 3:11 AM, Mar 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-15 07:18:22-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- If you think it takes a lot of money to start your own business and be your own boss, a Tampa Bay-based non-profit organization is hoping to break that stigma by offering free workshops. 

Pop Up Business School USA may have an unusual name but it make sense when you learn they pop up in low-income areas to help folks chase their dreams. It is a new approach that throws old rules away.

Ybor City and the area near Tampa's University Mall is where the non-profit is looking to hold their workshops in the coming months.

"They teach you to write business plans and borrow lots of money and go into debt to start a business and it doesn't work for most people," said Alan Donegan, co-founder of Pop Up Business School in England.

Donegan taught more than 300 people how to make a free website and then use social media to advertise and get customers. They began with 122 businesses.

"Escape rooms, food businesses, dog walking businesses, drone flying schools - like every type of business you can imagine," Donegan said.

Eighteen months later, 89% of small businesses are still going. That is the reason Donegan is confident the concept will work in the U.S., too.

"My core passion revolves around empowering the youth," said Charles Davis III, who grew up in Tampa.

Davis heard about the workshops through the Hillsborough County Entrepreneur Collaborative Center. He was immediately interested in growing his organization.

"Our urban youth need it," Davis said. "They need to see someone that looks like them, that comes from a background like them with a certain perspective that they may not be used to."

Davis' father passed away last November in his early 40s. He felt his dad never fulfilled his legacy of helping people, which is why he is trying to carry it on. 

Ernest Anderson is looking to grow the boot camp business he runs out of a local park.

"We just got the structure and now we're just trying to get more people to come in," Anderson said, noting cost is something he worries about. It is why the pop up business program enticed him. 

"It's great to have your own gig and do something for yourself, it's hard work but it's fun," said Annabelle Ship, co-founder of Pop Up Business USA. "You wake up every morning and you want to go to work, it's your passion, you think about it all the time."

Ship says her organization is currently working to find a few locations in the Tampa Bay area to hold workshops; Dates will be set soon.

If you are interesting in learning more about Pop Up Business School USA, click here to contact Annabelle Ship.