POTSDAM, N.Y. -- Sixty small business owners are heading back to class this winter for a lesson in survival. It's a record turnout for Clarkson's Small Business 101 course and the instructor says it's probably a result of the economy.
"People are a little nervous about what's going on out there and it's important to focus on your business and whatever tools or tricks that they can apply to strengthen their business, especially when they're free," said Marc Compeau, Director of Clarkson's Innovation and Entrepreneurship program.
The class is geared toward businesses that employ 10 or fewer people.
"In St. Lawrence County, small business is where it's at. We have more small businesses than medium and large businesses combined. What we try to do is focus on some really basic skills that these entrepreneurs need to sustain their businesses," said Compeau.
"For me, probably the marketing and media stuff, different things like that. Everything's changing, so it's good to evolve and change with that," said Tresy Cameron from Elajao Essentials Day Spa.
"The financing that they're going to teach and that we discussed last week, we touched on that topic. That will be increasingly important to any small business or entrepreneur," said Tom Gurrola, owner of Gurrola Computer Repairs.
The course isn't just about the businesses. It’s a chance to strengthen the bond between the university and the community.
"Clarkson truly reaches out and truly makes a difference to reaching into the community and helping better it, because the better the community is, the more that we have to offer to Clarkson and their students," said Meg Ingram, owner of Raquette River Rods.
Clarkson hopes to repeat the course in the spring to give more business an opportunity to take it.
The class is currently a four-week series, but Clarkson says it wants to use it as a starting point to create a program to help more businesses in a larger way in the future.