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The program, which begins in May, will cover topics such as entrepreneurial thinking and competition research.

COURTESY PHOTO: TIE OREGON - Participants in a TiE 'XL Boot Camp' before the coronavirus pandemic.The pandemic has prompted people across the country to venture into new career paths.

This May, Hillsboroans thinking of starting a business or expanding an existing business will have an opportunity to learn from experts in entrepreneurship during an upcoming program.

People can apply for an entrepreneurial "XL Boot Camp" through The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Oregon, a nonprofit supporting businesses and entrepreneurs.

"The program will help participants make connections with mentors and key influencers in the startup community, and offer coaching and training created for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, and instructed by entrepreneurs," Hillsboro officials said in a statement about the program.

The program typically runs twice per week from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for six consecutive weeks. Applications are due Friday, April 23.

Topics covered in the program will include entrepreneurial thinking, customer validation, competition research and financial preparedness.

"Most entrepreneurs start with a problem they want to solve. But more times than not, they struggle to overcome the challenges of a startup," said Laura Kubisiak, who works with Hillsboro's economic development department through an initiative called Venture Catalyst.

The initiative, which began as a partnership between the Hillsboro government and the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network, was inspired in part by recommendations from 2017 Hillsboro Civic Leadership Academy graduates who focused on identifying new ways to support Hillsboro entrepreneurs and grow new businesses.

As the leader of Venture Catalyst, Kubisiak supports small business owners and entrepreneurs interested in starting a business, expanding their business, pivoting to provide new services or growing revenue in new markets.

"We see this work as crucial to assist the next wave of entrepreneurs, and support the innovative entrepreneurs throughout our community," said Dan Dias, Hillsboro's economic and community development director. "Laura and our entire team want to continue to support the increasingly diverse industries that have taken root here, as well as invest in efforts that support entrepreneurial activity that leads to future economic growth and prosperity in the region."

Upon completing the boot camp, participants will have an "increased network and digital presence," "a good understanding of their target market and unique value proposition," "insights on forecasting and fundraising options and "an actionable 30/60/90-day plan to move their business forward," city officials say.

The program fee is typically $750, according to the program's website.

Scholarships are available for women and people of color.


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