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Elevate Entrepreneurs graduate spring class

On Tuesday, April 23, Elevate Branson celebrated the spring graduates from the Elevate Entrepreneurs program. The 12-week course is designed for individuals who desire to own a small for-profit business. Students meet three hours per week, with an additional hour per week of focused business work outside of class.


Some people would call it homework, but in reality, it’s taking what we learn in class and applying it to your business,” said Chris Hunter, VP of Operations at Elevate Branson and co-director of Elevate Entrepreneurs. “It’s the things that we need to do, but often don’t get around to doing.” For instance, after learning about pricing strategies, students are assigned to research possible competitors and look at their pricing, decide on their own initial pricing, and then make revenue projections.


Throughout the class, students are introduced to several individuals in the community who will contribute significant expertise and whose services will be needed:

·       An accountant who explains the importance of keeping personal and business finances separate

·       A banker who explains how to open a business account

·       A lawyer to explain and discuss the benefits of different business classifications like LLCs and S-Corps

·       An insurance company that will discuss the types of coverage that might be needed

Some of the class topics include these important aspects of business ownership:

·       Business idea feasibility

·       Basic business cycle

·       P&L statements

·       Basic bookkeeping

·       Budgeting

·       Cash flow management

The class is led by college professors, and volunteers from the community act as financial coaches and marketing coaches.

The Spring 2024 graduation included 10 Elevate Entrepreneurs with some exciting businesses:

1.     Marlene Barger, 3D-Lishus Designs, digital designs for 3D-Printable cookie cutters

2.     Melissa Bollinger, residential and commercial cleaning

3.     Jonathan France, handyman and lawncare

4.     Trace Haddock, TH Mobile Detailing LLC

5.     Dixie Henrichson, Weave Got You LLC, Black Beauty Supplies

6.     Gwen Markus, Getting Better with Gwen, a wellness business

7.     Doug Parker, Doug Knows Branson blog

8.     Cassie Pickle, Creation’s Bakery

9.     Jill Rodriguez, Frosted Crumble Bakery, personalized sugar cookies

10.   Clint Wehrman, Where Man Travel

Do you have an idea for your own small business that you’d like to develop into a profitable primary occupation or enjoyable side hustle? Studying and applying the topics covered in these classes can be a big boost toward success! Learn more about the program at, or email Chris Hunter at

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