• Savannah Carabin

Bluefield, WV EDA (BEDA) to provide free online Entrepreneur Training

Updated: Apr 21

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) is free entrepreneur training in partnership with Santa Clara University


Bluefield, WV – Bluefield, West Virginia Economic Development Authority (BEDA), today announced the availability of free online entrepreneurial training offered through a partnership with the My Own Business Institute (MOBI) at Santa Clara University. BEDA will offer a customized version of MOBI’s popular Starting a Business course to create its Entrepreneur’s BootCamp Program. By offering the MOBI entrepreneurial curriculum, BEDA aims to provide free training to help entrepreneurs develop new businesses in the Bluefield area and to support existing businesses that need to adapt their business models due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The online accessibility of MOBI’s content also provides the flexibility for participants to pursue their learning safely during shelter-in-place mandates, as well as when restrictions are lifted.


CED & BEDA Executive Director Jim Spencer states, “Prior to COVID-19, we were in the process of developing an Entrepreneur’s Bootcamp to supplement the training being hosted by BEDA. Since that time, we have been looking for ways to provide the needed training for our entrepreneurs and existing businesses in a safe environment and online training. We are excited to announce today a partnership with MOBI to provide free online training for entrepreneurs and existing business owners. The training provided by MOBI will be supplemented by the Create Opportunity Partners with online classes, conventional classroom settings, and one-on-one coaching sessions.”

MOBI is the world’s leading provider of free online education for entrepreneurs. MOBI believes in fueling dreams and confidence through accessible education. By providing an engaging, actionable, and understandable curriculum, MOBI is for anyone, regardless of educational background, technical training, or previous business knowledge. MOBI provides the foundation for students to take the first steps toward business ownership or to grow an existing business. All participants in a MOBI course are eligible to earn a Certificate of Completion from Santa Clara University.


In addition to providing direct, online learning opportunities through MOBI’s website and the Moodle platform, MOBI partners with educational institutions, vocational training programs, community organizations, NGOs, non-profits, and other organizations around the country and throughout the world to provide free entrepreneurial learning with customized business fundamentals adapted to the opportunities and needs of specific groups. Partnerships are an important part of the MOBI program and help extend its reach to new audiences. MOBI is funded by the generosity of its founders, Phil and Peggy Holland, and their legacy endowment to Santa Clara University, with the aim of providing free, accessible entrepreneurial education to anywhere, anywhere.


“We are excited to welcome the Bluefield, West Virginia Economic Development Authority to our MOBI family of partners who help us bring free entrepreneurial education to people, organizations, and communities across the United States and around world,” said Drew Starbird, Ph.D., Executive Director of the My Own Business Institute at Santa Clara University. “MOBI is honored to be working with the BEDA and to be a part of fulfilling its mission of taking a proactive approach to the development of a new and sustainable regional economy.”

National studies have shown the following data:


Why Small Businesses Fail (From Jessie Hagen of U.S. Bank, cited on the SCORE/Counselors to America’s Small Business website http://www.score.org)

  • 82% – Poor cash flow management skills/poor understanding of cash flow

  • 79% – Starting out with too little money

  • 78% – Lack of well-developed business plan, including insufficient research on the business before starting it

  • 77% – Not pricing properly or failure to include all necessary items when setting prices

  • 73% – Being overly optimistic about achievable sales, money required, and about what needs to be done to be successful

  • 70% – Not recognizing or ignoring what they don’t do well and not seeking help from those who do


Why Entrepreneurs Fail: Top 10 Causes of Small Business Failure (By Stephanie Burns Contributor ForbesWomen)

CBInsights analyzed 101 business failures to compile the top 10 reasons why entrepreneurs fail. From no market need to being too early, a lot of these issues can be avoided.

  1. No market need: 42 percent

  2. Ran out of cash: 29 percent

  3. Not the right team: 23 percent

  4. Got outcompeted: 19 percent

  5. Pricing /Cost issues: 18 percent

  6. User unfriendly product: 17 percent

  7. Product without a business model: 17 percent

  8. Poor marketing: 14 percent

  9. Ignore customers: 14 percent

  10. Product mistimed: 13 percent


The City of Bluefield’s Community & Economic Development Department (CED) realized two main factors:

  1. There is a direct correlation between the failure rate and the lack of training and preparation by entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur could be the best in the world at providing a service and still fail. As noted by the CBInsights date “a lot of these issues can be avoided.”

  2. Economic Development and in particular entrepreneurship are a team sport and not an individual effort.


As a result, the CED developed the Create Opportunity Initiative which brought together partners to provide services to entrepreneurs. Most recently, the following Create Opportunity Partners have provided training to local entrepreneurs and existing businesses; Mercer County CVB, WV Small Business Development Center, Crea Company, Regional Contracting Assistance Center, Inc. (RCAC), Bluefield State College, Bluefield College, Concord University, CART, Inc., Hatfield-McCoy Trails, Intuit, TechConnectWV, and MentorBoost.


To sign up for this program visit this link: www.mybluefield.org/mobi


For questions regarding enrollment, contact Savannah Carabin at scarabin@bluewv.org.

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