The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has a group of programs under its FastTrac initiative that is all about helping people pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. "Whether you're starting or growing a company," FastTrac's website says, "these FastTrac programs will help you live your dream at each stage of business."
The Kansas City, Mo.-based Kauffman Foundation focuses on advancing entrepreneurship through research, education, technical assistance, and policy. The foundation's three FastTrac programs — FastTrac NewVenture, FastTrac GrowthVenture and FastTrac TechVenture — are specifically devoted to assisting entrepreneurs in starting and growing their businesses, helping answer the question, "I have a great idea for a business. Now what?"
FastTrac is centered around classroom learning, with participants receiving an average of 30 hours of classroom time. "FastTrac provides a facilitated learning process," FastTrac president Alana Muller said. "In addition to classroom time, all participants get access to subject matter experts, receive immediate, candid feedback from other entrepreneurs, (and get) one-on-one coaching and the ability to learn from real-life examples of entrepreneurs who have been in their shoes."
FastTrac NewVenture is aimed at entrepreneurs who have an idea for a business but don't yet have a plan for how to turn that idea into a viable business. FastTrac GrowthVenture is for entrepreneurs who currently have a company and are looking for support and strategies for growth. FastTrac TechVenture is geared toward entrepreneurs developing a technology or science-based business, and the unique funding and intellectual property factors they require.
With its three programs, plus individual class offerings for women and veteran entrepreneurs, FastTrac touts itself as "one of America's leading entrepreneurial learning programs" that "remains on the cutting edge by providing programs that are written by entrepreneurs, facilitated by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs."
FastTrac programs are specifically devoted to assisting entrepreneurs in starting and growing their businesses, helping answer the question, "I have a great idea for a business. Now what?"
FastTrac programs have helped more than 300,000 entrepreneurs over the past 18 years with assessing their business ideas and starting and growing their businesses," Muller said.
Notable Kansas City businesses such as The Roasterie and Brookside Barkery have taken advantage of the programs. Recently, Kansas City pilot Dan Stratman launched his new mobile travel app, Airport Life after graduating from FastTrac.
"There are three main outcomes to any FastTrac course," Muller said. "One, the participant goes in with an idea, and comes out ready and equipped to start their company; two, the participant goes in with an idea, realizes with the knowledge gained during FastTrac that it's not quite right, and comes out ready to pivot, iterate or start a business with a different idea; and three, the participant comes in with an idea, realizes during their FastTrac training that they're not meant to be an entrepreneur, and comes out ready to make positive change for another business with their entrepreneurial spirit."
Although based in Kansas City, FastTrac programs are delivered through licensed affiliates around the world, and therefore are open for enrollment for entrepreneurs everywhere. Program costs vary, but typically start around $700. For more information on FastTrac programs and enrollment, visit FastTrac's website or find the organization on Facebook or Twitter.