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Joel Chrisco, of the International Rescue Committee, invites aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to come learn about what it takes to start or grow a business.

First, please tell me about your organization.

The International Rescue Committee in San Diego offers a diverse range of programs and services to refugee, immigrant, and low-income families in San Diego. Our programs include immigration and citizenship services, free tax reparation, food and farming programs, and a small business development program. We’ve been operating in San Diego since 1975, and worldwide since 1933.

And you have a workshop coming up? Tell me about that.

The “Let’s Make Money” event will be on Saturday, March 16th from 8:30 – 2pm at the San Diego Continuing Education complex, 3792 Fairmount Ave, San Diego. The event will include nine different one-hour workshops on a range of business topics to help entrepreneurs start or grow a small business. There will be special emphasis on businesses with low start-up costs. Sessions will be led by experts in the field, including a number of current business owners. We will also be sharing information about the new home-based food business regulations.

What other kinds of topics will be covered?

The event will include general business topics (online marketing strategies, identifying business opportunities and business trends) as well as industry-specific topics (home-based food businesses, transportation businesses, and selling at farmers’ markets).

What can a person expect to leave with?

Information about how to start or grow a business; new connections and relationships with business resources, and connecting to and learning from current entrepreneurs.

Who is eligible for the workshop?

Aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as current small business owners.

Is there any preparation necessary for participants? Do they need to bring resumes or references or any kind of paperwork?

No preparation or paperwork is necessary, however we do ask that participants register at rescue.org.

Let’s say I’m interested but can’t make the workshop. Can you offer a two- or three-step process that I can use to get started on my own?

Yes. One, develop a basic business plan, get feedback. Two, secure money. Three, start selling!

Are there any ongoing resources your organization can provide for those interested but unavailable on the workshop day?

Yes, IRC provides one-on-one guidance and business counseling to help start businesses. To schedule a business counseling session, call Ryan at 619-641-7510 Ext. 299.

Any resources outside your organization?

There is a wide range of organizations in San Diego that support entrepreneurs. For a complete list or organizations and services, visit SDMicrofinance.org.

What final words of encouragement can you offer for someone who likes the idea but isn’t quite sure they’re cut out to own a business?

My recommendation: start small, and see what it leads to. There are plenty of small business opportunities available that do not require significant financial investment. Starting a home-based food business, for example, costs less than $1,000 to start.

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