ONLINE - Business Foundations 1 | Saturdays, beginning May 6

Woman coaches two entrepreneurs at event

Is business ownership for you?

This will be our final offering for this course to the public. Read more here.

Business Foundations 1 takes you on the small business journey from idea to ownership. You will discover what it takes to fully explore the potential of your idea and launch your enterprise.

Starting a business can be a great way to bring in extra cash or to make a living doing something you enjoy. Mercy Corps Northwest makes it easier to learn the basics of starting and operating a small  business through our Business Foundations 1 class.

The six-session series provides discussion, tools, and guidance on the following topics:

  • Week 1 – Introduction to Business: Learn about the different business structures, how to register your business, how to create an elevator speech for your business, and how to track your spending.
  • Week 2 – Start – Up Cost and Credit:  Develop your Unique Value Proposition, determine the start up cost for your business, and learn about credit.
  • Week 3 – Overhead Cost and Focus Groups: Define what a focus group is, complete an overhead cost sheet for your business, and conduct an analysis of your competition.
  • Week 4 – Market Analysis: Deepen your understanding of  market research, your target market and competition, pricing strategy, and how to best leverage some free market research tools.
  • Week 5 – Marketing and Product Pricing: Continue to understand the value of market research, your target market and competition, and pricing strategy. In this session you will begin incorporating aspects of the business plan to put into practice.
  • Week 6 – Profit & Loss and Developing a Business Plan: Discuss the importance of the Profit & Loss Statement and learn how a complete business plan is developed.

By the end of week 6 students should have a better understanding of:

  • How to decide if a business idea will work
  • How to get the word out and attract customers
  • Figuring out how much money you’ll need to start it, and to keep it going from one month to the next
  • The steps for registering your business with the state
  • Learning how you can best use your valuable time and resources
  • Tell a clear and compelling story when people ask, “What do you do?”

Who is this for?

Business Foundations 1 is for people with limited time and money, and great ideas. No prior business experience or education is necessary, and the class is designed to help you determine if you’re ready to start a business.


This course consists of six three-hour sessions. Class is held in an online classroom every Saturdays 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time on the following dates:

  1. May 6
  2. May 13
  3. May 20
  4. May 27
  5. June 3
  6. June 10

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact

Small Business Loan program

Good news! Completion of this course qualifies you for an expedited application process for a $1,000 loan. If completed in combination with our Business Plan Workshop the amount may increase to $2,500. 

Please note: This class may qualify you for the IDA grant program outside of Mercy Corps Northwest, however our organization is not enrolling new IDA members. To find an IDA provider, visit

Registration policy

  • Registration closes three (3) business days before each course begins. Once the course registration is closed, you will need to wait for the next offering in order to register. We cannot accommodate late registrations.
  • Clients must complete all sections of the prompted questionnaire to successfully register for each course. If you do not complete the entire questionnaire, your spot will not be reserved. If you need assistance registering, please contact Training.
  • Our classes and events are in high demand. If, after registering, you are no longer interested or able to attend, please notify us as soon as possible at Training.

For Refunds and Frequently Asked Questions, please visit  Oregon Women’s Business Center Classes & Events Frequently Asked Questions

What can you expect?

People who have taken Business Foundations discover that it’s a fun, easy way to learn about business ownership and a great way to find support right here in our entrepreneurial community. Here’s what other aspiring entrepreneurs had to say after completing the class:

“Hearing others and sharing helped give me the confidence I needed to move forward.”

“I really liked having a plan–having the combination of the course book, homework, and class was perfect–it made an overwhelming prospect much more manageable. I was able to mull things over and be prepared for class—which always addressed questions that came up for me–even if I wasn’t the one asking. The whole format and instruction was incredibly valuable.”

“This class was so supportive and empowering!”

This event is proudly hosted by Oregon Women’s Business Center at Mercy Corps Northwest, funded in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Kari Morrison

Kari Morrison


Kari Morrison has one basic philosophy to life and business is the golden rule of “treat people in the way you would want to be treated.” She is currently a consultant for Mercy Corps Northwest’s L.I.F.E. program and teaches courses as part of the Oregon Women’s Business Center. 

Event registration

[16 remaining]


Do you reside in a rural part of the state of Oregon?
Rural is defined as cities with less than 30,000 people or living outside the following areas: Albany, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Medford, Portland Metro Area, Salem/Keizer, or Springfield.
If you heard about this program from another organization or source not listed, please specify. 

Business information

Max length: 500 characters
What phase is your business in?

Existing businesses

Is your business registered with the Secretary of State?

For Washington-based businesses, is it registered with the Department of Revenue?

What is your business registered as legally?

What kind of business did you register?

Okay to estimate.
What is your business ownership percentage?
What industry is your business in?
Do you work full time or part time at your business?
Is your business based out of your home?
Do you conduct business online?

Answer 'yes' if you do sales of any kind online.

Not including yourself, does your business have any employees?
Currently, what is your highest priority business goal?

Demographic information

At Mercy Corps Northwest we encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply for our programs. 

The following information will remain anonymous and confidential. We aggregate data to report trends and analyze performance, but there is no personal data associated with these reports. Your answers will not impact your ability to participate in MCNW services.
What pronouns do you use?
What pronouns do you use?
Are you employed part time or full time by someone else (meaning outside your business)?
Do you consider yourself an economically disadvantaged individual (per the definition below)?
Economically disadvantaged individuals are individuals who have experienced difficulties in competing in the business world because of their identity as members of a specific group. It could also be because of their financial situation. 

These groups could be, but are not limited to, racial, ethnic, gender, or disability groups. 
Do you speak a language other than English at home?
Which language do you speak at home?
Household definition: all individuals who share the space they use for eating and living together and share financial dependency. Include yourself.
Household income: refers to annual gross income for all adult members of the household.

Household income includes monthly gross salary or wages, self-employment income (owner’s draw), general assistance (food stamps, SNAP, TANF), SSI or SSDI (Social Security Benefits), unemployment compensation (UI, COVID or PUA), retirement income (Pension/401ks/Annuities/IRAs), investment income, child support/alimony, dependent benefits.
Do you identify as LGBTQ+?
Have you ever been incarcerated?
All individuals are eligible to participate, regardless of their level of involvement with the justice system.
Are you a member of a federally recognized tribe?
Because Mercy Corps Northwest is a federally-funded non-profit, we are required to report the following demographic information for our small business clients. Thank you for taking the time to complete the following questions.
Are you Hispanic?
Race/Ethnicity (Check all that apply)
Do you live with a disability?
Mercy Corps Northwest Smart Advice Newsletter
Would you like to receive twice monthly email updates about upcoming classes & events and community resources? 
U.S. Small Business Administration Permissions Policy
I request business consulting or training services from the SBA or an SBA resource partner.  I agree to cooperate should I be selected to participate in a short survey designed to evaluate SBA services. 
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Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration

Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration