ROCHESTER, N.Y. — ​After weeks of learning, training, seminars and working with mentors, some business owners in the Rochester area are finally receiving their certificate of completion.

“It’s been a huge learning process, this course has helped me tremendously,” Haliegh Brown, owner of In & Out Painting and Cleaning Services LLC, said.

Brown started her business in the heart of the pandemic after being laid off.

“When I first started my business, I did it solely based off of Craigslist ads and trying to build my business from the ground up literally,” she said.

The Business Opportunities Program has aided a lot in the growth of the business. The program, started by the Rochester Joint Schools Construction Board, has a goal of creating better entrepreneurs and innovators to full transform their business.

“I had to focus on trying to do things more efficiently, trying to re-plan, focus on some of the things we were not doing right during the pandemic because everything was going on,” Steven Service, owner and president of AlphaGraphics Rochester Airport, said.

Service has finished the Business Opportunity Program, and now he’s part of the Business Accelerator Program, which is helping him possibly expand his business with more employees and services.

“It helps me to understand what my capacity will be in order to grow,” he said. “If you want new employees, there are tools that I can use to tell me financial wise how much money I’m going to need.”

After completing the program and navigating the pandemic, some business owners believe they can do anything. “A lot of noise was going on before, but now the focus is on what’s really important in growing the business to do it successfully,” he said.

“My key takeaway is marketing, financial strategy, also communication, building business relationships,” Brown added.