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Entrepreneurship and Small Business

The ESB exam is intended for use primarily in academic settings including secondary schools, vocational schools, community colleges, and technical colleges.

Candidates for ESB certification will be expected to have key conceptual knowledge of entrepreneurial and small business principles, although it is not required for students to have had real-world experience as a small business manager in order to take and pass the exam. Successful completion of this certification will validate skills and knowledge for those students interested in working in a middle-skill trade profession as their own boss and those with entrepreneurship and small business career aspirations.

Why should students study and seek certification in ESB?

Whether it is a beauty salon in a large metropolitan city, a taco shop in a booming resort location, or a car repair garage in the suburbs, an incredible number of small businesses can be found almost everywhere.

The ESB certification is built to test and validate foundation-level concepts and knowledge in entrepreneurship and small business management. These core concepts include entrepreneurship; recognizing and evaluating opportunities; planning for, starting, and operating a business; marketing and sales; and financial management.

Objective domains

  • Identify the characteristics of entrepreneurs
  • Given a scenario including a selfassessment outcome, identify the strengths, weaknesses, and risk tolerance the selfassessment identifies and how to compensate with services
  • Given a scenario, recognize a business opportunity
  • Identify the risks, benefits, opportunities, and drawbacks of being an entrepreneur
  • Identify the benefits and drawbacks of different types of opportunities (e.g., start a new business, buy an existing business, and buy a franchise)
  • Given a scenario, analyze the demand for the goods or service and opportunities in an environment
  • Given a scenario, identify the customers or potential customers for a business
  • Given a scenario, recognize a value proposition
  • Identify the purposes and value of a business plan
  • Identify the appropriate legal structure, benefits and drawbacks for different legal structures for a business
  • Given a scenario, identify different types of licenses and regulations that are required
  • Identify the benefits and drawbacks of various sources of start-up funding: Equity (friends/family, angels, venture), Debt (bank, credit cards, personal loans), and Grants (government, foundation, corporate)
  • Given a scenario, identify support that is available for the business on a local, state, and federal level
  • Identify the ethical practices and social responsibilities of a business
  • Identify potential exit strategies for a business
  • Given a scenario, identify key positions and human capital needs(including compensation and benefits)
  • Given a scenario, determine whether work can be completed by the owner or whether employees or service providers are needed
  • Given a scenario, identify the taxes that are required
  • Given a scenario, identify intellectual property issues of trademarks, copyrights, and patents
  • Given a scenario, identify standard operating procedures (e.g., setup, conduct, internal controls, separation of duties)
  • Given a scenario, identify the factors that lead to sustainability
  • Given a scenario, identify milestones as part of a growth strategy
  • Given a scenario, develop a sales strategy and identify characteristics of a successful sale
  • Given a scenario, identify and analyze the costs/benefits of finding customers
  • Given a scenario, identify how to retain customers and develop a relationship with repeat customers
  • Given a scenario, determine value and methods of communication including: web sites, brochures, social media, and advertising
  • Given a scenario, interpret basic financial statements such as income statements and balance sheets
  • Given a scenario, identify the factors that influence credit ratings and the importance of a positive credit rating
  • Given a list of expenses, identify which are fixed versus variable
  • Given a scenario, identify the factors that impact the price to the customer
  • Given a scenario, identify and analyze cash flow including: accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory, and debt
  • Given a scenario, create a cash flow budget
  • Given a scenario, identify the break-even point for the business

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