WHAT IS CREATE CONSULTS?
This professional assistance program will provide consultations for local ventures with experts recruited by Create Birmingham. Every participant will have an initial intake meeting with a Create Birmingham staff member. Using the CO.STARTERS Business Model Canvas, the entrepreneur will “walk” staff through each building block of their business, allowing for self-discovery of potential weaknesses and knowledge areas that might need strengthening. This process will also better inform staff of how to create a customized firm-learning track with three consultants who can be most beneficial.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Create Consults is for any artist, nonprofit, entrepreneur or small business owner already in the business stage that is finding themselves stuck. The goal is to assist 80-100 ventures in building more resilient business models. You will find the focus and clarity needed to identify new ways forward; determine immediate next steps for stabilization; re-examine your venture; strategize to solve your customers’ changing needs; and learn how to adapt or refine your model.
This program is available to all local small businesses and entrepreneurs. As always, significant areas of focus for Create Birmingham are black and female owned ventures, as well as those located in the City of Birmingham.
WHO ARE THE CONSULTANTS?
Our network of advisors includes CO.STARTERS graduates and facilitators, as well as women and people of color who can speak to specific challenges our entrepreneurs face. Our consultants include experts in areas of commercial operations, nonprofit operations, accounting, legal services, marketing, community engagement, IT solutions, and life & career coaching.
You’ll start by filling out an application. Please indicate where your business license is registered – City of Birmingham, City of Bessemer, or Other.
You will have an initial intake meeting with a Create Birmingham staff member. Using the CO.STARTERS Business Model Canvas you will “walk” staff through each building block of your venture.
You will be assigned to Peer Groups. The makeup of each group may vary, depending on when you enter the program. The goal is to have participants from different industries in an effort to increase exploration and knowledge and to build broader, sustaining networks.
Peer Group attendance is required, and groups will convene virtually once a month for 60-90 minutes for a three-month period.
You are required to participate in three Foundation Sessions over the course of three months. Each session will be offered twice a month and times will vary. Each session is approximately 90 minutes.
1. Assessing & Addressing You and Your Customer explores the ways in which COVID has impacted personal and customer time, income, routines, etc.
2. The Evolution of Your Customer & Product explores how COVID may have changed the problem to which the venture once offered a solution; new solutions; new distribution and marketing.
3. But At What Cost dives into your fixed and variable costs, new COVID-related costs, and breakeven points.
You will be paired with three consultants over the course of your three-month program for deeper dives into targeted weak spots within your business model. These sessions will begin when the Peer Groups are active and participants have begun the workshop series. New questions and concerns will arise once the self-exploration has begun which will lead to a more complex analysis and more meaningful “dive.” Information and lessons from the private consultations can be shared in the Peer Groups, impacting the group as a whole.
You will participate in an exit interview/final consultation at the end of your three-month process. This is an important discovery process in our evaluation of the program and its impact.
Create Consults is made possible thanks to the generosity of Create Birmingham’s supporters and partners.
City of Birmingham | City of Bessemer | Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation | Alabama Power Foundation | Daniel Foundation of Alabama | Regions Foundation | Welch Group Foundation | The Ruby S. & John P. Ansley Fund | Caring Foundation of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama | Vulcan Materials Company Foundation | Protective Life Foundation | Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham | Jemison Investment Co. | BBVA | Hugh Kaul Foundation | Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust | Wells Fargo Bank | IBERIABank | First Horizon | Brooke & Daniel Coleman Charitable Fund | C. Eugene Ireland Foundation
If you would like to help support creative entrepreneurs through this process, please contact Meg Nelson, Director of Development, at 205-458-1393.