Vail Valley entrepreneur class starts Feb. 2 |

Vail Valley entrepreneur class starts Feb. 2

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado

Patrick Baldasare has started several businesses over nearly 30 years. He may help start four more in the Vail Valley this spring.

Starting Feb. 2, Baldasare will lead the Entrepreneur Fitness Center, a new class at Colorado Mountain College. The class won’t just focus on a traditional blackboard-and-notes classoom style, but instead will split the class into teams.

Those teams will generate and evaluate various ideas and plans. At the end of the 11-week session, Baldasare expects the students to have as many as four ready-to-launch business plans completed.

“I’ve always been practically oriented,” Baldasare said. “I think it’ most useful for people to participate if they can, and come out with something tangible.”

Baldasare calls himself a “serial entrepreneur,” and the label seems apt. He was running a division of Burlington Industries at age 27, and has created, managed and sold several businesses since.

Now, he’s a consultant and investor. He spends most of his time in the Vail Valley and a few months a year in Pennsylvania. After living here for several years, not long ago he called Peggy Curry, campus dean of the local Colorado Mountain College campus, and pitched his idea for entrepreneurs.

“At this point in my life I can do this,” Baldasare said. “I like to mentor others.” And in the current economy, it might be the right time to launch a business, so it’s ready to thrive when the recovery comes.

While Baldasare is looking for budding entrepreneurs, he’d rather not start from square one. He said he’s looking for people with either classroom or real-world experience in marketing, business and finance.

Curry said she’s eager to have Baldasare teaching at the college, and hopes enough people sign up ” at least 10 are needed, and enrollment is capped at 25.

“He called us about the time we were talking with the local chambers about things we could do together,” Curry said. A class for entrepreneurs looked like a natural fit.

Baldasare said he’s only had preliminary conversations with a couple of prospective students, but said the business ideas he’s heard so far range from coffee roasting to fitness centers.

But what about the people whose ideas aren’t picked to develop?

“They’ll be intimately involved in every aspect of business development,” Baldasare said. “They’ll learn about planning, finding financing, the logistics of filing tax documents and what kind of company they should be.”

So what does Baldasare get out of the class. It isn’t a huge amount of money.

“For me, I’m already getting tremendous intellectual stimulation,” Baldasare said. “It’s been a ton of fun already, and very challenging.

“I hope to get a lot of positive feedback,” he added. “That keeps you sharp. And it feels good to be part of the community and contributing.”

What: The Entrepreneur Fitness Center.

What it is: A new class at Colorado Mountain College.

Who it’s for: Small business owners, or people who want to be.

When it starts: Feb. 2 at 6:20 p.m.

How long it lasts: 11 weeks.

For more info: Call 970-569-2900.

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