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Ready to start a business?


Rockdale Chamber opens registration for entrepreneur class

 CONYERS—It took Esther Williams two years to earn her master’s degree in business administration in 2000 at the University of Phoenix. It took her six weeks at the Conyers-Rockdale Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneurial Academy to learn everything she needed to start her own business.

“Everything—from insurance to opening policies—was covered. It’s really what I needed to get things up and running,” said Williams, a retired Rutgers University professor who completed the program last year.

Since graduation, Williams has launched the Green Hygiene Company, LLC. The business offers environmentally safe cleaning products on both, the corporate and the household level. She says right now she is running the mail-order businesses in Decatur and looks to have a permanent office by the end of 2014.

The Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Academy is designed to assist those who want to start a business but are unsure where to begin.

“This entrepreneurial program is a course designed with the small business entrepreneur in mind. Whether you have an existing business or dreams of starting one in the future, the academy has something for you,” said Fred Boscarino, president/CEO of the Chamber. “Experienced business people who have ‘been there, tried that’ share their voices of experiences to help you avoid common pitfalls and be better prepared to establish your business for growth and prosperity.”

Academy topics include: Accounting/bookkeeping; Legalities of starting a business; Performance management; Handling expenses; managing revenues; Marketing your business; Retirement planning for the small businessperson; Business liability insurance; Community involvement; Computer/Technology Resources and Website Marketing.

Boscarino says through a series of workshops, seasoned entrepreneurs share their lessons learned. Each week, a new topic is introduced. The format ranges from panel discussions to lecture to hands-on training.

“Of more than 300 academy graduates who have come through the program since it started in 2004, more than 50 percent are now in business for themselves,” said Boscarino. “In addition to gaining valuable information, you will also have the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals who hope to establish or expand a small business.”

The academy has drawn participants from Stockbridge, College Park, Stone Mountain, Forest Park, Lithonia, Decatur and even McDonough.

The Rockdale Chamber of Commerce is currently enrolling students for the fall semester, which starts on Monday, Feb. 17.

New this year: Academy participants will receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and a Certificate of Completion from Georgia Piedmont Technical College. 

Classes are held Mondays, 6:30 – 9 p.m., for seven weeks at the Chamber’s office, 936 Green St., Conyers.

The academy costs $175 if registration is made on or before Saturday, Feb. 1. The cost will be $195 after Feb. 1. The fee includes class materials, a light meal before each class, graduation dinner and certificate of completion.

For more information or to register, call 770-483-7049 or visit

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