UVA offering classes

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, January 2, 2013


FRANKLIN— The University of Virginia plans to offer a program to people interested in starting or improving their business.

“We are real excited to offer this program,” said Teresa Beale, executive director of the Franklin Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce. “All of this will prove to be a great learning experience.”

The UVA Entrepreneurship Certificate program will be taught by Darden Graduate School of Business alumni. The certificate for the program only can be achieved when participants complete all 10 classes.

The classes, held once a week from 5:30-8:30 p.m. beginning Feb. 26, will involve reading case studies developed by the Darden School focusing on a different successful business in Virginia.

“One nice thing about these classes is there is not a lot of work outside of class other than reading case study before class,” Beale said. “This is set up so people can take the classes without it interfering so much in their outside lives.”

Courses also are open to those interested in specific topics.

Tuition for each course is $100. Class sizes are limited to 20 people to offer tight-knit group discussions.

Beale feels the small class size also will build a nice networking group.

“We have already had the verbal commitments of 4,” she said. “We know we will draw people from not only our area but Suffolk as well.”

The Chamber is offering a $500 scholarship that will be awarded as a rebate to be used to supplement the $1,000 cost of obtaining the certificate. The scholarship is only available to applicants who complete the 10-week program and residents of Franklin or Southampton County.

The Chamber and UVA held a sample class to judge interest in February 2011 at the Franklin Business Incubator.

“We knew after the (International Paper) mill closing we had to find something to support our local entrepreneurs,” Beale said. “When we had 25-30 people attend that sample class we knew we had to bring the whole program to the area.”

The program is being offered through the combined effort of Paul D. Camp Community College, Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce and Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc.

Deadline for registration is Feb. 1. To register, call the Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce at 757-562-4900.

“This is such a unique opportunity,” Beale said. “It is going to be a great support for the business community.”