Benjamin Franklin is generally credited with being the first to say, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."

The first class for would-be business owners, sponsored by Elevate Northland, is set for Tuesday, March 19. It is intended to help them to plan so they don't fail.

Anthony Molden of the Women's Business Center at the Economic Community Development Institute will lead the free workshop, "From Idea to Action: Business Model Canvas." It will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ashland University MBA Center, 1900 E. Dublin-Granville Road.

Participants may sign up at:

Elevate Northland, which was founded in 2018 by Northland Community Council president Alicia Ward, Northland Alliance Chairwoman Jenny Lin Leal and Alice Foeller, now president of the Northland Area Business Association, is a neighborhood-boosting effort with goals of creating a business incubator and possibly eventually funding a community center.

"I'm very excited that this is actually beginning, that we have these amazing partners of ECDI and Ashland," Leal said.

Interest in the inaugural class was already high last week, and Leal cautioned that some who seek to attend might find themselves on a waiting list for the next class.

"That really reaffirms for me that there's a demand for this type of education in our community," Leal said.

"This has huge potential," said Foeller, who is also secretary for the NCC.

"For one, our economy in Northland will rise or fall on small businesses. Amazon's not going to move to 161. It's small businesses that are lifting the economy in areas like Northland. Because our small-business community is largely new Americans, there are even more barriers."

The March 19 workshop will be the first in a series of free programs on business development and financial well-being, Ward said at the March 5 NCC meeting. The end goal, she said, is to develop a site for a business incubator, perhaps by this summer, and then start raising funds for a new community center in the neighborhood.

"It's about the only way I think we'll get a community center, is to support it," Ward told council representatives.

"This will be a basic introductory course on how to set up a business plan," Leal said of the March 19 program. "They will be leading people through the steps, all the parts of a business plan, how to lay it out so it makes sense."

Because of the possibility some workshop participants may have limited proficiency in English, Leal said the ECDI presenters are pacing the class slower than usual and with more periods set aside for questions and answers.

"We're really working to not have any barriers," she said.

In April, Foeller said, Elevate Northland has arranged for two more programs at the Karl Road Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library on helping small businesses grow.

"They usually have those classes at the downtown location ... and we asked them if they would be willing to hold them at Karl Road to bring the resources to where the community is." Foeller said.

The programs, she added, will focus on ways business owners can use library resources such as market research information and computers to make their enterprises successful.