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WKCTC offering free training for minority-led small businesses


West Kentucky Community & Technical College in Paducah is hosting free training sessions for minority-led small businesses and entrepreneurs. The sessions will happen every two weeks starting April 19 and will cover a range of topics to help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow and expand their capabilities.

Kevin O'Neill is the vice president of workforce and economic development at WKCTC. He said the goal is to help aspiring entrepreneurs get the tools and knowledge they need to grow their business and said this program will help them every step of the way. Planned topics include business planning, licenses, human resources, record keeping, taxes and more.

“No different than what we would do with a student in our academic program, you always have the, you know, the advisor and the success coaches,” O’Neill said. “We’re kinda going to be a success coach, I guess you could say, for [aspiring entrepreneurs].”

The program is made possible due to a $15 million dollar grant given to the community college by philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott in 2020 through the National Philanthropic Trust. The multi-million dollar donation to the college supports diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, including opportunities for educational attainment and workforce training for marginalized students.

O’Neill said the upcoming training sessions would not be a “one-and-done” program. He suspects as the program begins to draw more participants, new dates will be added to cover topics starting entrepreneurs and business owners want more education on.

“We may get to a point that something may reveal itself,” O’Neill said. “We may have to make a correction and add [subjects] in the series before we move on.”

The program also provides participants with an opportunity for one-on-one business counseling. Those seeking business counseling will get paired up with local successful business owners to help mentor them through the process of running a business.

“As for the future, we will just continue to offer these offerings. Because, there’s always going to be that up-and-coming entrepreneur or just newly started small business owner,” O’Neill said “But, even those that are more seasoned they still can use some information”

Call 270-534-3821 or 270-534-3444 to register or learn more.

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
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