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Parkersburg Economic Development to launch business acceleration program<br>

Contact: 

Juli Grill, director, Parkersburg Economic Development, (319) 346-1043
Mike Hahn, program manager, UNI Regional Business Center, (319) 236-8123
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Parkersburg Economic Development, in partnership with the University of Northern Iowa Regional Business Center, is launching a specialized business development program for Parkersburg area residents. The Rural Business Accelerator Program (RBAP) is a new entrepreneur-training model designed to provide residents in the Parkersburg areas easier access to business training resources available through UNI.

RBAP consists of three business training courses, two delivered onsite and the third delivered online.

The first course, Smart Start, is free and is being offered at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, and at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12 at the Parkersburg City Hall, 505 Coates St. Smart Start is a two-hour program that briefly covers business planning, financing, credit, legal and tax issues.

Fast Trac is a 10-week entrepreneur-training program that provides participants the tools to start or grow a business. Fast Trac will be offered from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Sept. 24 through Nov. 26 at the Parkersburg Civic Center, 502 Third St. Regular cost for the program is $199, but it is being offered in the Parkersburg area for $49.

A highlight of RBAP is a new Web-based component that will be launched in November. This program will offer self-directed curriculums, direct research and marketing assistance from UNI RBC Web-counselors, plus interactive chat that will allow local entrepreneurs to network over the Internet. The Web-based component is designed to help RBAP participants sustain their business ventures during the critical start-up/expansion phase.

For more information contact Juli Grill, Parkersburg Economic Development at (319) 346-1023; Mike Hahn at the UNI RBC at (319) 236-8123; or visit http://www.unirbc.org.