Round Rock Chamber Aims to Help Entrepreneurs

By: Nichole Barrios / Austin Community Newspapers

The Round Rock Chamber asked the business community what it needed to help foster entrepreneurship, and the answer created the Entrepreneurship Round Rock program.

The five-session course, each session lasting three hours, aims to help people who want to be entrepreneurs and have an idea but need help in their venture and execution.

The program was a result of the chamber’s “Rev Up Round Rock” strategy released last year. It aims to strengthen and expand the community’s current entrepreneurial climate.

“The goal of the whole strategy is we want to try to get more enterprises started in Round Rock,” said Mike Odom, Round Rock Chamber president and CEO. “We have been working on curriculum (and) development, and are now ready to start accepting applications for the first cohort.”

In the course, budding entrepreneurs will learn business basics, market analysis, financing, business plan development and other skills.

“If you have an at-home bakery or you think that you have the next tech billion-dollar IPO, there are certain foundational things that everyone needs to know, and we’ll cover those,” Odom said.

The classes are geared toward both burgeoning business owners and those already well into a business endeavor.

The course will address both smaller scale or local businesses and larger scale ones or startups that could eventually lead to venture capital funding.

“Our goal has been to serve potential entrepreneurs no matter what they want to go into,” he said. The program “is accessible to all kinds of businesses.”

The chamber’s community enhancement team developed the curriculum and will facilitate the classes. Experts in certain areas, such as attorneys or market analysts, will be brought in to reinforce what’s being taught.

Since classes are two weeks apart, students will be assigned “homework,” or out-of-class projects, where participants will complete assignments such as talking to potential customers about their ideas and conducting market research.

Much of the program will be foundational work to ensure participants have an idea for a business or product that meets a need or a want. The program will see if there is a viable market for the idea and whether it is appropriately priced for the market.

The program’s inaugural class, offered at $150 per person to local and nonlocal residents, is limited to 10 people.

“Our goal is to grow Round Rock’s entrepreneurs, but we also understand because the Round Rock entrepreneur ecosystem is somewhat in its infancy and we may have entrepreneurs from other communities who want to participate,” he said. “If we help the entire region, it benefits us all.”

The chamber plans to hold the course annually and will let demand determine whether it should be held more than once a year in the future, Odom said.

The classes will be Aug. 9, Aug. 23, Sept. 6, Sept. 20 and Oct. 4.

For more information, visit roundrockchamber.org.