To help existing businesses grow in Colleyville and new startups succeed, the City Council on Jan. 17 adopted a resolution endorsing Dallas Baptist University's new Certificate of Completion program for retailers and restaurateurs.

The City Council identified the need to focus on retention and attraction of businesses and partnered with the university on the business development program that will begin in March.

The program was inspired, in part, by the city's 2010 Citizens Survey, which found that residents ranked retaining existing businesses as their fourth priority and encouraging new business development as their sixth priority.

Donovan Fredricksen, the dean of DBU's College of Professional Studies, said it is a challenge for people when they first start a new business.

"These are experts in the field teaching this," he said. "Many of these people not only teach, but have also started and run their own businesses as well. So they know firsthand the pitfalls of that and what's necessary."

Marty Wieder, the city's economic development director, worked with Fredricksen on planning for the program. Together, they met with a group of area business owners to determine the skills that helped them to succeed and to provide suggestions for startups.

The new program offers six seminars lasting an hour and a half over a six-week period on topics such as principles of marketing and advertising, principles of financial accounting and customer satisfaction.

Wieder told the City Council on Jan. 17 the program is geared toward entrepreneurs and owners of existing retail shops and restaurants.

"They are going to get a good refresher," he said. "They are going to learn about some things related to the operation of their business that may reinforce, 'All right, I'm already doing what I'm doing' or may cause them to think, 'You know, perhaps I should go about doing things a little bit differently and maybe it will make a difference on my bottom line.' Even more so, though, I think people that are contemplating a new business [will benefit]."

Mayor David Kelly agreed.

"It is really exciting," he said, "because I don't know how many cities out there, especially of our size, actually offer some sort of program where we are saying, 'We want to promote your business, help you plan it, help you move forward and help make it successful and we're going to be behind you with those steps.'"

The program runs from 7 to 8:30 a.m. on March 22 and 29, and April 5, 12, 19 and 26. Students are awarded a Certificate of Completion when they finish the program.

"If this is successful and we see a continued need, we certainly would consider doing it again in the near future," Fredricksen said. "Perhaps not just here, but in other areas of the Metroplex."

For more information, call 214-333-5888.