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‘Launch Central Valley’ to help build new businesses

Successful small businesses are vital to a flourishing Central Valley in areas from providing jobs to making progress in literacy rates.

Fresno Pacific University’s Center for Community Transformation is helping entrepreneurs start and grow life-giving businesses through its Launch Central Valley program. This proven 10-week small business start-up boot camp provided direction, instruction and coaching from business experts in marketing, sales, finance and dealing with attorneys, accountants and government officials.

Weekly sessions will be from 6:00-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, from Jan. 31 through April 4. Participants will meet online via Zoom, and will have the option of getting individual coaching in person, virtually or over the phone throughout the course. Get more information and register at

Now on its eighth cohort, the LCV has trained 93 entrepreneurs and helped launch or develop more than 52 businesses. Plans are for the program to assist more than 300 area entrepreneurs to get businesses thriving over the next five years, financed by nearly $1 million from the Lilly Endowment.

Scott Johnson appreciated learning about business marketing and legal issues, but the continuing benefit has been networking with experts and like-minded entrepreneurs. “The number of doors they opened for me… they continue to be supportive of me and everyone else in the class,” said Johnson, CEO of Pee Pipe, which makes a portable, disposable urinary device for people with disabilities.

Center for Community Transformation staff members are a continuing resource for LCV alumni. “That’s something that’s going to continue to pay dividends long after I’ve taken the class, and I’m really grateful for that,” Johnson said. “The class is only $150, and the value is 10 times more than that.”

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