LiftOff program will guide new entrepreneurs

Published 10:18 am Saturday, September 19, 2020


CentreWorks’ new entrepreneurial mindset startup course is titled, LiftOff.  The course is intended for those considering their first business startup of any type, for profit or nonprofit. The course will meet once weekly (60-90 minutes) for eight weeks beginning Sept. 24. This course is offered at NO COST to Kentucky residents in Garrard, Mercer, Boyle, Casey, Washington, Marion, or Lincoln County.  To apply for the LiftOff program go to



Anyone who has ever considered starting their own business or who’s interested in learning what it takes to be a good entrepreneur before leaping into a new venture can take part in CentreWorks’ inaugural LiftOff program.

CentreWorks is an initiative of and fully funded by Centre College to work in partnership with Danville, Boyle County, and seven surrounding communities to help facilitate economic growth in this region, according to its website. The co-executive directors are Dr. Anthony J. Margida and his wife, Andrea Margida.

LiftOff is the first program offered to the public through CentreWorks. And with the support of the Boyle County Chamber of Commerce, it will be free for residents in Boyle and surrounding counties who want to learn how to be a successful entrepreneur and participate in the eight-week, experience-based virtual course.

According to the LiftOff webpage, found at, the course will help people figure out if they could, or even want, to be an entrepreneur; if their business idea could be profitable; and what steps and resources are necessary to make it happen.

Anthony Margida said, “LiftOff is designed to instill regional community members with the mindset to resolve complex problems, start new businesses, and contribute to the well being of their communities.”

Andrea Margida said in LiftOff, participants will learn “the principles of the entrepreneur mindset, not just to start a business, but really to navigate life. It’s a mindset people can bring to anything they face.”

The most crucial attribute of a good entrepreneur (defined by as being “an individual who creates a business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards,”) is empathy, Andrea Margida said. “And we define empathy as listening to understand.”

“Can you imagine if we all listened to each other to understand what the other person’s perspective is, what they’re saying, what they’re bringing to discussion, what they’re saying about a challenge they’re facing? We could come together nicely and work through things if we approach challenges and situations with empathy.”

Anthony Margida said when an entrepreneur is researching an idea for a business they must go through a process of evaluating what the value product is to the consumer. “They need to connect with their customer base and get a human-centered kind of feedback — talking to customers and learning from them. This is where empathy comes in.”

Andrea Margida gave an example of someone who may live on a farm, raise a garden, and their chickens produce eggs. That person also may say, “and everybody loves my cakes. I want to start a business to sell these cakes to consumers.”

She said that’s what starts the empathy process. That person may find out that people do enjoy the cakes, “but do they really want to pay for them? Or do they love them because you invite them for coffee and a piece of cake? They might really just want to socialize with you.

“That’s the cool thing with going through this program and doing customer discovery. … You learn so much.”

She added that in the example where the person wanting to just sell cakes may see that it would be a better business idea to open a shop to sell cakes and coffee where people can socialize.

“You really don’t know where your idea is going,” she added.

Anthony Margida said, “It’s finding the right product and service that’s going to be accepted by your customer base.”

Other topics to be discussed include: ideation, design thinking, business model canvas, value proposition validation, customer discovery, legal foundations, financial considerations, equity capital/debt financing, and team formation and p

He added that in LiftOff  a potential entrepreneur will learn, “There are processes to discovering those things before you invest a lot of your time and a lot of your money building something that may just fail. … You may shift your product a bit, you almost always do, based on customers, but you still stay true to your internal mission,” Andrea Margida said.