The universe of startup and small business entrepreneurs typically occupies the space of uncertainty, trial and error, exasperating emotional swings and, far too often, failure . And now, with the re-election of President Obama, the spotlight on this issue will inevitably intensify. Throughout his campaign, the President focused on small business issues and argued that his policies would help entrepreneurs. At the start of his second term, roughly half of the country’s private-sector workers are now employed by a small business. Yet, no one questions that this number needs to grow in order to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and compete on a global scale.
While Mr. Obama’s commitments and policies are encouraging, one problem remains the same; small business entrepreneurs can’t afford professional business guidance and other professional services.
Free resources are available through SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), and colleges and universities are offering courses in entrepreneurism and small business skills, some free of charge and some for tuition. For-profit training companies are offering courses/content, although most of these enterprises target mid-tier and larger companies with substantial training budgets. Much of the training that is presently available is either outdated, poorly produced, embedded in outdated delivery platforms, is of insufficient depth and quality, and is costly for individuals, startups, and small business entrepreneurs.
Serial entrepreneurs, Jim Aardema and Keith Jones are kicking off a project they call the SMARTS Entrepreneurial Development Library, that will offer affordable training in the form of individual courses and libraries of courses delivered on demand from the "cloud". SMARTS' courses will be created using the latest digital technologies to address important topics from pre-startup considerations to practical guidance and tools for strategic planning, structure, business model, business development, operations, human resources, human/emotional factors, and more. Courses will be produced in video/motion graphics, and will include interactive sections that will focus on productive learning tools and planning activities.
SMARTS is using the new concept of "CrowdFunding" as a means of raising capital for creation and production of the Entrepreneurial Development Library courses. The SMARTS campaign recently launched on the www.IndieGoGo.com website; their campaign video is live at http://igg.me/p/244528?a=1554998 .
Jim Aardema, President of Strategic Management Arts, Inc., SMARTS, expects the crowdfund campaign to evolve as a "call to action through which people can do something personally to help small business entrepreneurs raise their success rate, thus creating jobs". Mr. Aardema sees reaching out to the world for contributions to the project as a type of Economic Patriotism where many people can help a great idea come to life and help many others in the process; possibly contributing to the creation of their next job!