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Get on the ‘FastTrac’ & Grow your business

Training program classes start Oct. 4

August 18, 2010
The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - MTEC SmartZone and Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance (KEDA) have recently announced that the successful FastTrac program will be held again this year for local entrepreneurs and business owners.

FastTrac is a step-by-step process for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to grow a business. The program is an award-winning, comprehensive package of entrepreneur-learning materials that were created by the nationally renowned Kauffman Foundation.

FastTrac provides existing and aspiring entrepreneurs with key business insights and skills, leadership experiences, and valuable networking and mentoring opportunities they need to start, grow and lead businesses.

According to Jonathan Leinonen, Program Director at the MTEC SmartZone, "The FastTrac program undoubtedly increases the survival rate of a start-up business."

Classes are held at the ADTC Building on Sharon Avenue, in a small class setting with 15 participants each.

Here, they have the opportunity to share experiences and challenges, listen to local and successful business owners, and learn from a proven curriculum.

FastTrac classes begin Oct. 4 and run every Monday night for 10 weeks. This year's guest speakers are impressive and include the area's most knowledgeable business professionals in their field.

For example, Roger Woods, lecturer at the Michigan Tech School of Business, will talk about how to identify, research and analyze market needs. In this session entrepreneurs and business owners will learn important methods to determine the viability of their product or service.

Another guest speaker will be Karyn Olsson from the Upper Peninsula Marketing Department. She will discuss strategies for reaching prospective customers and the importance of managing a brand.

"Marketing means so much more than logos and advertising," says Olsson. "I am excited to work with entrepreneurs and share with them the keys to successful marketing."

The program has an enormous national success rate, which is gauged by the success of business owners and entrepreneurs who attend the program.

Local business owner Brian Helminen of DesignoType Printers took this program 15 years ago, then grew a successful printing business.

He took the program again in 2009, and this year, Helminen will attend as a guest speaker to share his story on exploring entrepreneurship.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is prioritizing small business as a key contributor to the recovery of our economic growth.

They are investing $600 per person for those who attend the class, costing the entrepreneur only $100 to enroll.

Leinonen talks about the small costs and big benefits of the class.

"The MEDC's initiative to offset start-up costs to FastTrac training will help entrepreneurs add invaluable business planning on top of their individual interests for starting a business," he said.

If you are interested in the FastTrac class, call Jonathan Leinonen at (906) 487-7004 or e-mail him at

Information is also available

on the MTEC SmartZone website at

Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by the MTEC SmartZone of Houghton. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.



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