On February 17, 10 minority businesses from the Dudley Square area of Boston participated in an on-campus financial training workshop sponsored by the African American Student Union (AASU) in partnership with the City of Boston.
The workshop, a component of AASU’s Guiding Light Program, which provides small, black-owned businesses with free consulting services, focused solely on mastering QuickBooks and learning the rock-solid fundamentals of accounting. With the help of sponsored software (QuickBooks Pro 2006) from Intuit, as well as professional instruction from Real World Training, the officially endorsed QuickBooks training partner, the event was offered to local businesses at no cost.
Business owners could not have been more excited. Bruce Bickerstaff, owner of a communications/PR firm, noted, “This is a program that will position me to take a great first step on the road to entrepreneurship-and I’m definitely happy to have been selected.”
But he’s not the only one excited about Guiding Light. From the only black-owned telecom company in the Northeast to an incense, oils and natural soap wholesale distributor who sources many of his products from India, the group truly exemplified a well-balanced mix of businesses and backgrounds.
Throughout the day, they voiced their excitement for the possibilities. Lafayette Jefferson, owner of an IT services company, said, “Before today I would sit at my older version of QuickBooks and really get frustrated because I know technology but not accounting. I now feel confident that I’ve successfully bridged the two and look forward to running my business with greater accuracy and precision.”
In the weeks to come, five of the workshop participants will have the opportunity to take part in a five to eight-week consulting engagement that Guiding Light will provide at no cost to the businesses. Moreover, through efforts from the City of Boston, business participants will also receive free legal services, a comprehensive business assessment to determine growth opportunities, and, if necessary, consulting services to refresh each business’ growth and marketing plans.