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Spring Entrepreneurial Academy is open for enrollment

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Spring term of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneurial Academy begins, appropriately, on the first day of Spring. Classes for aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners start next Monday, March 21.

The 10-week course includes curriculum taught by leaders in the business community. The upcoming session includes sections on legal issues in business, marketing and accounting.

Barry Foster, author of “Everyone Needs a Coach” will lead some of the sessions. Lawyers Lee Rightmyer and Ron Gregory will lead the “Legal Questions Facing Your Business” course. Sandler Training’s Jim Marshall will teach the “30-second commercial” class.

Leading the marketing sessions are Kerry O’Reilly from the Tampa Bay Times and My Marketing Department’s Allen Jernigan. Accountants from Gregory Sharer Stuart will lead accounting sessions.

“What’s unique and ultimately so valuable about the Entrepreneurial Academy is it gives you a chance to build relationships with the community leaders who can ultimately help you get your company off the ground,” said Marcus Greene, market president for BB&T and academy sponsor. “Participants in the course will have the opportunity to meet and learn from people like the banker and accountant who may ultimately help them set up their starting business operations.”

The course costs $299 to cover tuition and dinner during each class. The group meets each Monday night from March 21 through May 23. The cost also includes a free first year, all access membership with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Membership typically runs $250. Students must meet minimum attendance requirements to qualify for the free membership.

Registration is still open on the group’s website.

“The Entrepreneurial Academy gave me a great overview of what it really takes to run a successful business, including things like bookkeeping and procedures, and that has made all the difference,” said Ester Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1.

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Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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