The Center for Entrepreneurship at the School of Business will offer five free seminars in its GO-Series for current and future entrepreneurs to help them understand important issues in starting and maintaining a business for long-term success. Participants who register for the seminars will learn about opportunities and limitations in creating a new venture, and be equipped with hands-on skills to develop plans and move forward in the startup process.

There are roughly 400,000 new business startups in the U.S. each year, 51 percent of which are out of business within five years. The success or failure of each depends on many factors, but lacking competent business skills or tools to start and operate a business is often a contributing element to the demise of many companies.

“Our goal is to give budding small businesses and entrepreneurs a good chance of success from the get-go,” says David Desplaces, associate professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. “These seminars will be taught by professionals who all have experience in start- ups and are eager to teach relevant skills to those who attend.”

The five-part series will be held in the School of Business Tate Center at 6 p.m. The GO-Series seminars facilitated by accomplished practitioners include:

1. Wednesday, September 12: Developing Ideas: The Vetting Process. Dr. David Desplaces, associate professor of entrepreneurship, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, partner in international family businesses, and Board member for companies located in Dubai, UAE.

2. Thursday, September 27: Developing a Marketing Plan that Works! Jim Kindley, MBA, serves as a director at the Williamson Dickie Manufacturing Company. He is the director of the MBA program in the School of Business and also teaches strategy, creativity and innovation in the program. He was a former president at American Pottery and a product manager at Rubbermaid.

3. Wednesday, October 10: Understanding New Venture Financials. Jeff Walker, president and owner of Kolstad Enterprises. He started an independent financial advisory firm and grew its assets to over $12 million in two years. Walker has held various corporate finance positions, and was an investment bank vice president for a firm with clients’ annual revenues between $5 to $90 million. He recently purchased a local cigar business in Charleston.

4. Wednesday, October 24: Ready for a Bank Loan? Maybe. Maybe not. Gregory Dickinson, senior vice president and commercial banking manager for Capital Bank, has 21 years of banking including commercial lending, credit underwriting, and sales leadership. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and the American Bankers’ Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking. Dickinson serves as the district chairman for the Etiwan District of Coastal Carolina Council, BSA.

5. Wednesday, November 7: Learning to Deliver a Knock-Out Business Pitch. Robert Hendricks is a local entrepreneur. He views the pitch as a critical component of the overall plan and, in many cases, the life line of a business. Hendricks will teach participants the essential sales pitch on the “what, why, where, when, and how” of your business proposition.

Parking is free and registration is limited to 50 participants. To sign up for the free seminars, visit