Entrepreneur Connection

Providing resources, education, and connection to capital to help entrepreneurs start or expand a business.

Entrepreneur Connection at BakerRipley was created in 2015 to provide education, resources, and access to capital for anyone who is an aspiring entrepreneur or current business owner. The program offers classes, business coaching, networking events, and a host of other services to help small businesses launch, grow, and thrive.

Spanish Classes

The Acosta Entrepreneur Academy

The Acosta Entrepreneur Academy at BakerRipley offers in-depth, multi-week classes that provide a solid foundation for starting or growing a business. Classes are taught in Spanish and feature peer to peer learning as well as experienced instructors.

The Academy offers two classes in a hybrid of online and in-person instruction. Registration takes place in the Spring and again in the Fall, with in-person classes rotating between the BakerRipley Community Centers.


Interested and motivated entrepreneurs with a clear business idea may join the LAUNCH class, an intensive learning course that provides entrepreneurs with the knowledge and information they need to launch or formalize a business in Houston. This class helps entrepreneurs build an action plan to guide their next steps for their business or idea.


A more intensive class, GROW is designed for entrepreneurs who completed the LAUNCH class and have been operating their business for at least six months (or one year if they did not take the LAUNCH class). Participants are highly motivated to grow their business. Once accepted, they join a cohort that receives evidence-informed curriculum to develop business management and planning skills. They also create a business plan which can be used to seek investment, and as a roadmap for future business activities.

English Classes

Kauffman FastTrac

Kauffman FastTrac is a class in English for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs will develop and refine a business concept, taking it through each step of the business planning process. Through readings, research, and discussion, participants will plan and analyze their entrepreneurial vision by creating a thoroughly researched and tested roadmap for their business.

Kauffman FastTrac is offered in the summer in a hybrid of online and in-person learning. In-person classes rotate to a different BakerRipley Community Center each year.

Business Coaching

BakerRipley offers free one-on-one business coaching in English, Spanish, Farsi, and Dari so you can work with expert small business coaches. Depending on your needs, coaches can work with you to:

Business Consultations

Add more text here; maybe describing benefits of consultation or what to expect. is it free? Business consultations are available by appointment for virtual or in-person sessions.

Food Industry Resiliency Program

Navigating Challenges and Embracing Growth for Restaurants and Food Vendors

During the COVID-19 pandemic, BakerRipley developed a food industry recovery program with detailed classes specific to the food industry. Today that program has been modified to focus on resiliency for restaurants and other businesses in the food industry.

In-depth, multi-week classes help business owners learn new strategies for navigating a crisis. Students create strategic plans so they are prepared in case of a hurricane, freeze, or other disaster. Another goal of the course is to help business owners incorporate healthy recipes and practices, to contribute to the well-being of their customers. 

This class is offered in a hybrid of online and in-person learning, in English or Spanish.


Workshops, Events, and Other Resources

Throughout the year, BakerRipley’s Entrepreneur Connection offers workshops on a variety of topics such as personal finance, business management, and much more. Networking events also help you connect to others in the business community and exchange ideas. Visit our Event Calendar to learn more.

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