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Work NextStep Small Business Program

NextStep Small Business Program

Help Your Business Get Ahead and Stay Ahead

NextStep is an innovative program designed specifically for CEOs of small businesses that have survived the start-up phase and are motivated to build their business skills and their network of peer entrepreneurs and advisors for further growth and scale.

University Circle Inc. made the decision to waive tuition for the NextStep program for any business that has been impacted by COVID-19. We believe NextStep will prove to be an invaluable resource for CEOs getting back on their feet after this national crisis.

Check out accomplishments from our graduates:

Since 2014 NextStep Graduates Have Had Real Results

$18.9MPublic, anchor institution, and corporate contracts secured

20%Annual average revenue increase for program graduates

36%Program graduates are doing business with a fellow participant

Basic Eligibility Requirements:

  • $250,000+ in annual revenue
  • One other full-time employee besides the owner
  • Been in business for 3+ years

Program Tuition: $500
Tuition waved for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Payment plans and pay by credit options are available.

Earn your Streetwise ‘MBA’™ for $500 and get the business skill development of a traditional MBA without the expense or rigorous time commitment.

The key components of NextStep:

  • Leadership
  • Resource Management
  • Accessing Capital
  • Financial Analysis
  • CEO Mentoring Groups
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Securing Government and Anchor Institution Contracts
  • Strategic Growth Action Plan
  • Access to our network of volunteer professionals and mentors

The NextStep program brings together a cohort of a dozen or so small business owners for a seven-month instructor-facilitated learning experience, using an award winning executive training curriculum. Over the course of the program, owners gain the business knowledge, management know-how, and expanded networks they need to achieve scale in today’s competitive marketplace. They support each other as they apply what they learn, and emerge with a three-year strategic growth action plan along with the tools, and the peer and professional networks needed to implement it. This work builds assets for the business owners and their families, creates new job growth, stabilizes local employment, and creates more resilient greater Cleveland communities.

Since 2014, 40+ local business leaders have graduated from the NextStep program. Join them - enroll in the NextStep program to unlock your growth potential. No previous degree is required, only the willingness to work on your business, not just in it!

About our Curriculum Partner and the StreetWise 'MBA'™:

Since 2006, Interise has been the go-to partner for economic development with a proven model for accelerating economic and small business growth to revitalize lower income communities. Its StreetWise 'MBA'™capacity building program has provided 7,000+ small business owners with the business knowledge, management know-how, and (network) relationships they need to scale using a peer-based learning method. As alumni scale their businesses, they contribute to economic development, job creation, and resilience within their local community. These businesses historically create jobs at 5x the rate of the private sector and are responsible for the creation of over 30,000 new jobs. Interise currently offers the StreetWise 'MBA'™ in 75 communities through a network of partners.

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