In the June 2002 issue of Inc magazine senior writer Susan Greco follows three entrepreneurs who are at an exclusive boot camp, being coached on how to present at a major venture-capital forum.

Sound compelling? We've compiled a list of boot camps and forums across the country where entrepreneurs interested in acquiring capital are learning to fine-tune business plans and refine pitches to potential investors.

Note: We have tried to ensure that the information contained in this directory is correct and current. We do not endorse any of the events listed. If you know of an event that should be added to this directory, please E-mail

Who may attend: Women-led businesses interested in accessing venture capital.

The Access to Equity Bootcamp, sponsored by the Women's Business Development Center, is a half-day event, held annually in Chicago. Open to 100 women. Fee to be determined.

Who may attend: Early-stage companies and entrepreneurs in the southwestern United States interested in acquiring venture capital.

The AVCC Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs features learning about funding options from experts and working with venture capitalists, as well as other investors. Attendees also get an up-to-date assessment of the market during the morning keynote address. The boot camp is a one-day event, held twice annually in Phoenix and Tucson. Fee is $45.

Contact: 602-495-6470;

Who may attend: Entrepreneurs and small-business owners who meet selection criteria.

The AVCC brings investors, bankers, and venture capitalists together with emerging growth businesses that are seeking funding. Through applications screened by a panel of venture capitalists, 12 companies are chosen to attend and present their business plans. The three-day event is held each December in Arizona. Fee is $495 for one member of a company; $395 for each additional member.

Contact: 602-495-6470;

Who may attend: Budding entrepreneurs age 16 to 19.

Business leaders will answer questions and provide strategies, resources, ideas, and contacts to budding entrepreneurs. Attendees to the event, which is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship at Methodist College, will visit several area businesses to learn operation and management techniques from industrial, retail, technology, and agriculture-based companies. The four-day event is held five times a year in North Carolina. Fee is $150; scholarships are available.

Contact: 910-630-7642;

Who may attend: Entrepreneurs who are starting a company, raising capital, or writing a business plan.

This boot camp, sponsored by Boston University's Entrepreneurial Management Institute and Center for Professional Education, is designed to show entrepreneurs how to assess a business model and to teach attendees strategies for developing, writing, and presenting a plan to investors. Participants present their business plan before an audience from the financial community and receive feedback and tips. The boot camp is seven sessions and held annually in Boston. Open to 20 participants. Fee is $1,000; $900 for Boston University alumni; $700 for additional participants from one company.

Contact: 617-353-2272;

Who may attend: Entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs of early-stage companies preparing to take on additional capital to fund growth.

At the Business Plan Bootcamp, sponsored by Strategic Capital Resources, participants learn about trends in venture financing, how to prepare and present an investment-grade business plan, and how to develop an actionable growth plan. The boot camp runs for 35 hours over three weekends, three times a year at Boston-area universities and colleges. Open to 15 to 20 attendees. Fee is $800, with discounts for early enrollment, sponsorship recommendations, and university alumni.

Who may attend: Entrepreneurs from start-ups or those looking for financing.

Entrepreneurs learn how to create a business plan that attracts investors, how to present to angels, and how to create a durable financial system. Attendees present their business ideas to local angel investors or resource providers to get immediate feedback and guidance. The two-day event is held twice annually in Cincinnati. Open to 25 to 30 entrepreneurs. Fee is $300.

Contact: 513-791-2884 x202

Who may attend: Entrepreneurs and students interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Entrepreneur Bootcamp, sponsored by the Harvard Student Agency's Center for Enterprise, provides information on how to create an investor-grade business plan and presentation. The one-day event is held annually at Harvard University. No fee.

Contact: 617-496-1463;

Who may attend: Selected minority-led companies in the Northeast that are seeking more than $1 million in venture capital. The focus is on high-growth industries, primarily software development, security, networking and equipment, telecommunications, financial services, media and entertainment, and life sciences.

A screening committee composed of venture capitalists, service providers, and private investors will select 15 to 20 presenting companies to participate in a one-day boot camp. Following the boot camp, each presenter is matched with a local team of at least two volunteer coaches who will work with the companies up to one week prior to the conference, where attendees will set up a booth and present to venture capitalists. Several events will be held across the country annually. Fee is $395, including boot camp, coaching, booth, and presentation slot.


Who may attend: Early stage high-tech start-ups or qualified turnaround companies.

Attendees who meet qualifying criteria and submit an online executive summary for review will receive coaching in key business areas and receive mentoring and assistance in business development. No contractual obligations are required unless you enter into a working relationship with Entrepreneur America following the boot camp. This is a two-day event, held quarterly in Montana. Open to 6 to 12 companies. Attendees pay only for transportation to the event.

Who may attend: Selected entrepreneurs from northwestern early-stage companies that are seeking capital.

Entrepreneurs submit business summaries, and a screening committee of approximately 30 investors select 20 companies to attend. The selected companies are coached on presenting their business models, which they do in a 10-minute live presentation before prospective investors. The two-day forum is held each March in Seattle. Fee is $295 for early registration; $345 for late registration.

Who may attend: Start-up entrepreneurs from the Northwest and management at northwestern start-ups.

Entrepreneur University was designed for those who want to fine-tune business plans and investor presentations and for management at existing start-ups. The two-day program is held annually in Washington State. Open to 250 participants. Fee is $295 for NWEN members; $395 for nonmembers.

Who may attend: Women entrepreneurs who are actively raising capital or preparing to seek capital in the near future.

The one-day Springboard Bootcamps focus on the key elements of building an equity-backed business, provide connections to local resources, and offer insights on pitching to investors. Four to five events are held across the country annually. Open to 150 entrepreneurs. Fee is $75 to $150.

Who may attend: Selected women entrepreneurs in high-growth industries who are actively raising venture capital for their business.

During a two-month, three-step screening process (online application, business-plan review, and in-person interview), 20 to 25 companies are selected from approximately 200 to 300 applicants. Applications are due four months before the forum, and preference is given to companies headquartered within the forum region. Selected companies go through an eight-week coaching program, which begins with a one-day boot camp. Three to four forums are held annually nationwide. Fee is $525 to $650 per presenter.