Local entrepreneurs hope to beat the odds with new business startups

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG TV9)- Federal labor statistics show it’s not easy to go into business for yourself.

Adam Covington, owner of a small business in downtown Cedar Rapids, shares insights with budding entrepreneurs who were part of a day-long program.

Half of new businesses aren’t around after five years. And 20 percent fail during the first year.

But an “entrepreneurial boot camp” offered by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance was trying to improve those odds for people thinking about starting a small business. It was a day long program to show what works, and what doesn’t when it comes to starting a business.

Adam Covington, who owns the Eastbank Venue and Lounge in downtown Cedar Rapids, says he jumped into owning his first business without a lot of help.

So learning what he needed to know was, at times, a painful experience.

He was one of the presenters who met without about a dozen potential entrepreneurs who may want to start a business someday.

Covington says his goal was to offer advice he might have used when he first started.

“I think a lot of business people will start a full time job and then a business on the side. If it’s not something you’re passionate about, the business will never succeed.

Some of the participants are in school and attended the “boot camp” simply to see what’s involved in setting up a business. But some were either new businesses owners or in the last stages of becoming one.

Heather Stuck, who started an audio and D.J. businesses with her husband four months ago, was looking for some specifics.

“I’m hoping these guys have something great I can take away with me and surpass that small success rating for small businesses,” she said.

Economic alliance leaders estimate there are 8-9,000 businesses in the metro Cedar Rapids area. The thought was perhaps something learned during this day-long event could eventually spark a few more.