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Q: Do you require instructors to attend your instructor training?
A: No, it is not required but we strongly encourage you to send at least one or more staff members to our instructor training to better understand how to implement the CORE FOUR® training program at your location. There is very beneficial information about working with entrepreneurs and best practices shared in this training, and many organizations are now sending their new business developers and other staff members to this training to learn how to work with entrepreneurs or learn about business planning even if they will not be presenting training themselves.
Q: What is CORE FOUR® best known for?

A: CORE FOUR® is known as the what-you-really-need-to-know, practical curriculum that gives entrepreneurs the information they need to know before or soon after starting a business.

The curriculum is designed in a way that anyone can understand the materials being presented and how to apply these concepts to their business. CORE FOUR® is a comprehensive business planning curriculum, but does not present information in a way that may overwhelm the average entrepreneur. You can customize the curriculum to meet the needs of your participants by adjusting how in depth you go into the various concepts.
Q: Do you license users of the curriculum or have other requirements?
A: No, we do not license users. CORE FOUR® is a very flexible curriculum and we will assist you in adapting it to work in your environment and with your participants. We do not, however, have strict requirements such as the following the curriculum exactly as it is written or requiring that a certain number of staff members be present at each training.
Q: How long does it take to receive materials once I place my order?
A: Most orders are shipped within 48 hours of order receipt. Shipping by UPS or FedEx ground is included in the price of the curriculum for the continental U.S. (typically 3-7 business days). We encourage you to order well in advance to avoid having to pay expedited shipping charges.
Q: What do organizations that currently use CORE FOUR® say about the curriculum?
A: The organizations using CORE FOUR® overall give it high praise and are very loyal to the CORE FOUR® curriculum. We would be happy to provide references of some organizations currently using CORE FOUR®, and you can view testimonials of customers on our website.
Q: What are some typical comments you hear from entrepreneurs after they finish taking the CORE FOUR® course?
A: “I came in thinking I knew a lot, but found out how much I didn’t know”;”I really looked forward to coming to class each night”; “Now I know why my first business failed”; “I feel inspired and much more confident”; “I have much better direction now”; “I’m sure glad I took this course – I would have made some big mistakes if I would have just jumped in”; “This course helped me understand how important my customers are and how much I need to appreciate them”; “You made writing a business plan something I can do.”
Q: How was CORE FOUR® developed?
A: CORE FOUR® was developed by the staff of the Northeast Entrepreneur Fund (NEF), a non-profit SBA Women’s Business Center and SBA Microloan intermediary in northeast Minnesota. There was substantial input from prospective and existing business owners, NEF staff, bankers, attorneys, and accountants. The result is a curriculum that covers what small business owners wish they would have known prior to starting a business, and helps entrepreneurs determine if their business idea is feasible, viable, and desirable (due diligence) before they start operations.
Q: What is the length of training?
A: The length of presenting CORE FOUR® is flexible, anywhere from 12 hours to 36+ hours, or even a semester-long college course. The amount of time in which you present CORE FOUR® would be determined by how much intensive assistance is needed, how much work is done in class vs. as homework assignments, how in depth you cover topics, how many guest speakers you have, field trips, what in-class exercises are presented, and what assignments are given. We will assist you in determining what would be appropriate for your participants.
Q: Do participants create a business plan as part of the course?
A: Again, since we do not license CORE FOUR® users we do not require it, but we strongly encourage you to require it of your participants. The materials are presented in a way that participants will be given the tools to create a comprehensive business plan. The value of doing business planning is in the process of creating a business plan and fine tuning the business idea, and without experiencing this process the participants will not fully benefit from the course.

Training Schedule


Trainer Certification for Core Four: Business Planning Course

Coming soon via video and web

Please call Maggi Cowlan, 301 891 1558  or

e-mail to reserve a spot.

Web training is $400 per person and includes an Instructor manual and a student manual ($243 value). tube8 spycamera