Start Up

This supportive, inclusive 15-week course is a deep dive into business planning and it's for you if you:

  • Have a solid business idea that you'd like to pursue
  • Are serious about learning and taking action
  • Can make the time commitment to fit this into your busy life
  • Welcome active participation in a small-group environment
  • Are ready to make positive change and take control of your future
  • Identify as a woman, female, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming



I feel more confident in my role as owner, more educated about the options I have, and with support network in place to help me move forward.

—Emily Garrett, Owner, Laughing River Yoga

Sarah Auger

I have a clear idea of what my business is now and what it could be in the future. I feel more confident in making the right decisions for success.

—Sarah Auger, Owner, The Goose Chase Cake Design

Tanisha Coleman


I now have the foundation I needed to start my business and feel confident as an entrepreneur.

—Tanaisha Coleman, Owner, T.C. Consulting

The Women’s Small Business Program (WSBP) has provided business education to entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs since 1989. This semester-long course helps women gain knowledge and build skills critical to having a successful business. Using the framework of writing a business plan, students learn the language of business and graduate armed with the knowledge they need to launch or expand their businesses.

The curriculum covers the fundamentals of three content areas in depth: Marketing, Finance, and Business Operations, and is taught by a team of three instructors who are also business owners. You’ll graduate knowing what you need to do to start and operate a successful business, and you’ll have completed a comprehensive, realistic business plan that you can use to guide you and to take to a lender if you decide you’ll need funding. This course is also great for women who are already in business and want to reinvent their business or take it to the next level. 

Class size is intentionally small, so you’ll get lots of personal attention and form lasting bonds with your classmates. This small-group experience has been referred to as “life-changing” by many of our previous graduates. 

The next 15-week session begins on February 28th. 

We are a VSAC-approved provider so this program qualifies for VSAC's Advancement Grant Program.

How to get started

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and we are currently enrolling students for the next cohort. We have a 30-year history and many of your favorite local businesses were started by women who graduated from Start Up.

Contact Claire Wheeler, Program Director, to learn more and apply. Or use this link to schedule an introductory call.