Small Business Bootcamp: Bootstrapping with Online Tools

Small Business Bootcamp


Program Goals:

This spring we’ll be launching a pilot project in the Windsor-Essex community to help women who are starting small businesses learn more about the ways they can use no-cost and low-cost online tools to fund, launch and be supported.

The program will focus on simple, inexpensive ways of using online resources to extend your reach, engage with customers and innovate.


Target Audience:

  1. Women who have graduated from community programs supporting women at risk.
  2. Local non-profit organizations.
  3. People starting small businesses in the community.


Pilot Program:

The initial focus will be on finding creative ways for women at risk to lift themselves out of poverty. The course is intended to make it easy for women with little or no technical expertise to get started.

We’ll be working with community partners to identify program candidates, and to make it easier for women to self-identify.


Course Modules:

Learners will be introduced to:

  • Google Apps for Business
  • The WordPress content management system
  • Online selling tools (starting with WordPress plugins, then looking at other options including eBay, Etsy, Fiverr, Zazzle, Shopify and Volution)
  • Social media apps (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest)
  • Crowdfunding tools to raise start-up funding (including Indiegogo, Kickstarter and GoFundMe)


Learners will have access to:

  • In-person instruction both in the class, and online. (In some cases this may occur at a program partner site. For instance, some sessions will be offered at women’s shelters to ensure the participants’ privacy and safety.)
  • Forums, a sort of “digital kitchen table” where you can ask questions and share ideas with instructors, mentors and other learners.
  • An online resource centre where you can find tools, mentors, sources of funding and satellite work spaces.
  • Optional web site hosting.
  • Optional onsite, in-person support.