TAMPA, Fla. — A local non-profit organization is trying to teach folks the power of entrepreneurship and how to start their own business.
Bootstrap Business School’s first two-week long course started at the end of January. The founder, Annabelle Ship, says they focus on low income areas, and offer a 10-14 day FREE workshop to teach people interested in starting their own business everything they need to know, from building a website, learning how to work social media, customer service and networking.
"If we can do this multiple times in the same city starting right here in Tampa, then we can improve the economy and it will just snowball,” said Ship.
The current session ends Friday and will have nearly 50 graduating students. Ship says that means nearly 50 new businesses. M. E. Means is just 13-year-old and wants to make wigs and hair accessories.
"We're trained to work jobs, are trained to go to 9-to-5’s and not really have a mindset of our own,” said Means. "I don’t want my children to make money for someone else when they could be making money for themselves and they can create a name and a legacy.”
Means thinks the course has helped her open up and better communicate with others
"Don’t be afraid and that sometimes even though it may not be easy to take the opportunity because in the long run it’s gonna pay off,” she said.
Elaine Cowles will also graduate Friday. She is 65-years-old and a retired kindergarten teacher in Tampa. She wants to have a consignment store that sells baked goods and coffee.
"Many people fail in businesses that they open so I wanted to take it slow,” she said.
Ship says they target women and minorities because they oftentimes aren’t given the same opportunities as everyone else.
"Anyone can start a business, what they need is support,” said Ship.
"Everyone has a voice so we naturally want to succeed but many times women and minorities feel that they’re not getting heard,” said Cowles.
Ship is working on getting the next session planned and scheduled. "Every student accepted into the program receives a full grant worth $2,500 and is paired with a mentor for the following year," she said. "Corporate partners help us provide these essential grants so that the program remains open to everyone."
If you’d like to help sponsor a session click here.