The ITI Business Development program has completed a highly successful pilot program, garnering high praise, strong interest, and—as pilot programs are intended to do—important enhancements to the ongoing curriculum.
The post-pilot courses include a Phase-Three collaboration with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and a Phase-Two module on the many advantages of a diverse workforce.
The ITI Business Development program was created to educate members on the financial, human resources and general operation of a business in three phases—including distance learning; hands-on and face-to-face training; and business planning—all meant to answer one question: Do you want to start a business?
The new elements bring the content even closer to the real-world opportunities—and decisions—that are part of starting a Sheet Metal business.
SBA can assist with process of applying for funding
The central issues for any business, new or established, are financial, and the new-business expertise of the SBA offers updated information on taxes, regulations and business practices important for first-time business owners.
Students come out of phase two with ITI and SMART ready to take on the effort of planning to start an actual business, which is Phase Three. They can freely choose to hold off or to move ahead.
For those who do move forward with the course, Phase Three has now been modified to allow a chance to learn, from the experts of SBA, how to create a business plan. They also can call on SBA expertise if they wish to apply for funding.
“To get more current information, those who do want to continue will have the opportunity to create an account with the SBA and complete modules to help them develop their business plans,” said Aldo Zambetti, ITI field staff and facilitator of ITI Business Development.
“What’s more, there is no timeline on that. This is when they’re going to make the ultimate decision whether or not to go into business. They’re going to continue their fate from there.”
BA can assist with process of applying for funding
Another key enhancement comes during the second phase, attended by all students before to deciding whether to continue or hold off on starting a business at that moment.
In Phase Two, which takes place at Local 33 near Cleveland, students from across the country meet to learn about legal, insurance, finance, labor and sales, as well as to seek advice, gather information and ask questions.
New to this phase is Chris Carlough, SMART director of education, leading the SMART Diversity program, which educates future contractors on equal opportunity and the benefits of a diverse workplace.
“If they’re going to be employers, they need to know this. I think it’s a great match,” Zambetti said. “We added this part to the business program, so we can get these men and women thinking about going into business with full awareness of their responsibilities as contractors.”