Venture FastTrac Entrepreneur Training
2023 FastTrac Cohorts
Partnering with the Best
In 2020, with support from the City of Belvidere and the Kauffman Foundation, Growth Dimensions Economic Development was able to secure the Kauffman Foundation’s FastTrac Program, a world-renowned entrepreneurial education program, which provides Venture Program participants a structured, innovative and principle-driven approach to starting and growing their business.
Thank you to our partners and sponsors.
What's in it for Me?
You have a business idea or you're looking to grow your business. But, do you know what steps to take to make your dream a reality? This is where the Venture FastTrac Program can help.
Through this fully immersive program, we'll provide you with the information, tips, exercises and tools to take your business to the next level.
Here is what you can expect to learn.
- Discover how your business concept matches your personal vision.
- Align your business concept with a real market opportunity.
- Find your target market and discover your competitive advantage.
- Determine the unique features and benefits of your product/ service.
- Learn how to set realistic financial goals for your business.
- Define your company’s brand and marketing.
- Learn how to manage business functions and develop an organizational culture.
- Determine the steps to profitability.
- Identify potential sources of funding for your business.
- Launch your business.
FastTrac is a 10-week course, facilitated by experienced business professionals and entrepreneurs. Below is an overview of the five sections in the FastTrac coursework.
Section 1: Ideate
Assess your entrepreneurial traits and personal priorities to better understand how your business goals might be affected by your strengths or weaknesses and your personal vision.
Section 2: Position
Any good idea will remain just that — an idea — unless it finds a place in the market and earns customers. In this section, you’ll figure out just who your customers (and competitors) are and where to find them. You’ll design your business model and think about the key factors that will help you transform your idea into a business. You will learn about legal structures that are best suited to your business, and you’ll start to think about how you’ll exit your business when the time comes.
Section 3: Commit
A business isn’t real unless it is reaching paying customers and generating revenue. In this step, you’ll focus on your brand, your distribution and your sales strategy. Finally, you’ll learn how to protect your intellectual property, your business and protect yourself from legal risks
Section 4: Refine
Now that you’ve sold and distributed your product/service, you have valuable information about the assumptions you made about your customer and your market. Now is the time to refine your business before you publicly launch. In this section, you’ll measure and analyze your financial results against your previous predictions. You’ll consider what people might be needed, and you’ll think about how to protect the assets of your business. You’ll learn what advisors and boards might do to help you as you work to launch. You will think about how you might fund your business. Finally, you’ll learn how to build and communicate the plan for your business with potential funders and others
Section 5: Launch
You’re ready to launch your business. In this section, you’ll learn strategies for launching, leading and developing processes that will allow your business to grow. You’ll learn how to draw attention to your new business. You’ll think about your leadership style, your company’s culture and how to manage the exciting challenges of growing a business. You’ll learn about best practices in process management and identify the success metrics that make sense for your business. You’ll forecast the financial future for your company and think about how to set yourself up for success.
Throughout the FastTrac Program, you will have a personalized workspace within the FastTrac Portal to develop your business ideas, strategies, etc. There will be four separate workspaces with templates, as follows:
Plan out the key elements of your business from marketing to pricing and everything in between.
BUSINESS MODEL CANVAS
Visualize your business concept, see new opportunities and design or redesign your business model.
Develop the clear and concise story of your business to be shared with friends, potential customers, investors and the market at large.
Create a financial forecast that will help you predict, measure and analyze the growth of your business for the next three years.
- Indefinite Use of FastTrac Portal
- Expert Facilitators (In-Person & Virtual)
- Access to Local & State Resources
- Invitation to Exclusive Venture Events and Networking Opportunities
- Consultations with Growth Dimensions & Facilitators
- One Year Membership in a Local Chamber of Commerce: Belvidere Area Chamber of Commerce -or- The Parks Chamber of Commerce1,2
- Venture Program Graduation Ceremony1
- Graduation Announcement in Local Media1
- Exclusive Venture T-Shirt & USB
- And, More…
Scholarship opportunities available. Contact Growth Dimensions for details.
1Must complete entire FastTrac and Venture Assignments. 2Available to new Belvidere Area Chamber or The Parks Chamber members, only. Business is responsible for $49.95 technology fee.
Meet Our Facilitators
A local entrepreneur, Matt Branom is a co-owner and Vice-President of the Boone County Shopper, a weekly publication that mails approximately 20,000 copies to 99% of Boone County, Illinois . He has great rapport with the businesses he works with and willingly mentors businesses to help them reach their goals.
Harold "Bo" Boger
With years in the marketing and business sector, Bo has been instrumental in developing business strategies and sharing those strategies to help his businesses and others realize their true potential and profitability.
Luis is a financial expert committed to the start-up, expansion and growth of small businesses. His background uniquely qualifies him to assist existing and aspiring enterpreneurs reach their business goals.
With a B.A. in International Business and a M.Sc. Organizational Development, Amilkar is a bilingual supply chain professional (Spanish and English) with 15 years of experience working with multinational enterprises in a variety of industries leading supply chain, customer service and business projects. He is a teambuilder, focused on business success.