LA GRANDE — The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District is scheduling free, in-person business planning classes in La Grande starting in January, and potentially in Baker City and Enterprise as well.

The “Business Foundations” classes starting Jan. 19 in La Grande are the first in-person workshops scheduled by NEOEDD in two years, Lisa Dawson, the district’s executive director and class instructor, announced in a press release.

The classes, at the IGNITE Center, 104 Depot St., are free thanks to a Community Development Block Grant through the city of La Grande.

Preference is made to people with low to moderate incomes, and income verification is required.

The six-week workshop is designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners build the basis for a successful operation.

The classes in La Grande will take place Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. Jan. 19 through March 2.

Dawson said she will also offer the Business Foundations workshop series in Baker City and Enterprise if at least five people sign up. Those classes would be either in-person or online, depending on the preference of those who sign up.

The Baker City classes would be on Tuesday evenings starting Jan. 25, and the Enterprise classes on Thursday evenings starting Jan. 27.

To register for the La Grande classes, or to express interest in classes in Baker City or Enterprise, email Dawson at

Dawson has taught Business Foundations for more than 10 years in Baker, Union and Wallowa counties. The hands-on classes cover the basics of running a successful business: overhead and inventory costs, goal-setting and sales projections, marketing, taxes and licensing, and other considerations, and brings it all together in a business plan.

Topics include:

• Gaining perspective: Consider your business concept.

• Laying the foundation: Define line of business and analyze financial essentials, from overhead costs to break-even point.

• Getting into the flow: Cover the financial essentials of cash flow, sales forecasting, and financial documents.

• Mission and markets: Mission, discuss market research, identify competitors, determine how to reach target markets.

• Get the word out: Discuss creative marketing strategies and give peer feedback on marketing materials.

• Goodbye and good luck: Present your business plan, share final pitch, and plan for next steps.

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