published Friday, January 11th, 2013

Urban League of Greater Chattanooga offers free business classes

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    Herman Kelly holds a cheesecake Thursday. Kelly took the Urban League's SpringBoard class to learn how to better operate his business, Kelly's Kreations.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
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To Apply

For SpringBoard applications go online to www.ulchatt.net or call the Urban League at 756-1762 ext. 14.

Herman Kelly has had Kelly's Kreations in his head and heart.

But he had nothing about the dessert business on paper until he developed a business plan through the Urban League's SpringBoard program.

"When you leave the class you have a written business plan, a living and breathing document," said Kelly, who co-owns Kelly's Kreations with his wife LuTrisha.

Kelly took SpringBoard in 2012, got his business license during the class and opened his cheesecake and dessert outfit the same year.

Kelly is among about 50 people who have taken the eight-week class focused on increasing minority enterprise in Chattanooga. Since the class started at the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga 18 months ago, students have paid $135 to $150 to attend. But those enrolling for the upcoming session starting Jan. 15 may enroll at no cost because former Chattanooga resident Darrel Freeman, who is also founder and executive chairman of Zycron Inc., provided scholarships for upcoming participants, said Urban League CEO and President Warren Logan.

This class also offers a $500 award for the best business plan developed and $250 for the best business plan oral presentation, said Logan.

Urban League Chief Operating Officer and former SpringBoard attendant James McKissic said the hardest part about the class is enrolling. People have ideas about having a business. Then they get paralyzed with fear.

"If you get over the fear, you can be successful," said McKissic. "You learn about financial statements, how to break even, how to make a profit. You're talking to people who funded businesses and you're in the presence of people of who can move your business forward."

Attorneys, professional marketers and business people teach the class. It's scheduled 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays from Jan. 15 to March 5.

When students complete SpringBoard, they will understand the road blocks they may face as an entrepreneur and how to get around them, said Kelly. They will know what business license they'll need and where to get them.

The class could also help people get a more realistic view of being a business owner, said Logan.

There may be 12 hour days. No paid sick leave or vacation time. Being a business owner may come at a high risk, but there is also opportunity for a high profit, said Logan.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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