Core Four Workshop Series

A free business planning program to help you succeed.

Core Four Workshop Series

Launching, expanding or relocating a business can be intimidating to even a seasoned entrepreneur. For those who are new to business ownership, the task can be even more daunting. That’s where CORE FOUR comes into play. Offered by the WCDC since 2015, this business planning course teaches aspiring and existing business owners the fundamental skill sets they need to set themselves up for success. To date, more than 100 people have graduated from the program.

Taught by WCDC Business Development Specialist Gordon Manker, this eight-week workshop creates a baseline in research, accounting and marketing and is offered in the spring and fall. The workshop is made possible thanks to funding through the state’s Neighborhood Partnership Program, PNC Foundation, F.N.B Corporation, Community Life, and Hosanna House.

CORE FOUR is free and meets once a week for 8 weeks.

Spring 2022 Sessions will be held on Wednesdays at 6pm

April 6th through May 25th

To enroll email Gordon Manker at:

Success Planning

Market Planning

Cash Flow Planning

Operations Planning

Core Four New Entrepreneurs

Invaluable, great program, and helpful are just a few words participants of the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation’s Core Four Small Business Workshop Series used while describing their experience. During the graduation ceremony held at the end of June, WCDC Executive Director Tracey Evens congratulated participants of the eight-week course. “This is one of my favorite parts of this program. I love hearing your stories, watching you grow and flourish.” Focusing on the marketing component of the course she encouraged them to talk about their business, and to utilize social media outlets. “Now that our offices are open, come in and continue to ask for help. Thank you for your hard work.”  Read more the entrepreneurs here.

Success Story: Abigail Salisbury

When attorney Abigail Salisbury first decided to make the leap into opening her own practice in January 2015, she was already well-versed in legal matters, having worked in both international law and academia. 

But she found that the CORE FOUR workshop, which she completed shortly after opening her practice in Wilkinsburg, was helpful for goal setting and creating financial objectives.

“I know I got a lot more serious about my financial goals and tracking,” she says, praising Gordon Manker, CORE FOUR workshop leader and the WCDC’s Business Development Specialist, for his encouragement. Read more about Abigail’s story here

Success Story: Terina J. Hicks

Terina J. Hicks knows all about baking. Cheesecakes, turnovers, pies and cobblers — especially cobblers — have been her passion since she was 14, learning from her mother how to create mouthwatering perfection from scratch.

But if you asked her about quarterly taxes and bookkeeping for a small business, she was far less confident than she was in the kitchen. So when she opened her baking business, CobblerWorld, LLC, she knew she needed to brush up on her skills.

Hicks enrolled in the CORE FOUR workshop in the spring of 2016, and she gained new insights that helped her expand her business, which today includes a storefront as well as a made-to-order component. Read more about Terina’s story here

Success Story: Valisa Dutrieuille

When Valisa Dutrieuille decided to open a child care center, she knew she still had a lot to learn about running her own business — things you can’t learn in books, and aren’t necessarily concerns when you work for someone else. So, she turned to her mother, Allene Thomas, for advice.

Having operated a group home in Wilkinsburg for 19 years, Thomas was well-connected to local resources, and she was taking a training class on day care when she heard about the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation’s CORE FOUR workshop for small businesses. She pointed Dutrieuille to the class, and attended alongside her daughter in the fall of 2015.

The following July, Dutrieuille opened Thomas Child Care Learning Academy, and she credits the knowledge she obtained during CORE FOUR with giving her the perspective and practical advice she would need to succeed. Read more about Valisa’s story here

To read more about the CORE FOUR program and its history, read “WCDC helps would-be business owners step up their game with CORE FOUR course.

This programming was generously sponsored by:
PNC Foundation
F.N.B. Corporation

Interested in joining the next workshop series?

Contact Gordon Manker at, call 412-727-7855 or click the contact button today.