Want to start a business?

Could your passion turn into a well-paying gig? Are you itching to convert a great idea into profits? Feel lost in the pulsating Gig Economy? Need to upgrade your career skills for the New Workplace?

It doesn't matter if you're a new business owner, an employee or a gigster; the Rules of Work are changing, forming and blending — all linking to the inertia of entrepreneurship.

Three years from now, jobs and industries sitting on a table in a coffee shop today will be searching for partners and applicants. The first responders will be those with the speedy flexibility and knowledge of entrepreneurs and gigsters.

You've landed in the right place.

Urban FIRE believes that entrepreneurship training results in a life worth living — expressed as a great business achieving profits, autonomy, mastery and purpose.

5-Finger MBA

5-Finger MBA is currently not available.

Rage Against the Machine!

Using Heart and Soul to Outwit the Robo Economy
Millions of robots are coming to fill American jobs without visas or college education. Where does that leave you? Getting really good at asking, "Want fries with that?" But even those jobs may go robo. What's left?

We own the most intelligent noggin on the planet, so why can't we solve Robo-Economics - even thrive instead of feeling like a worn-out floppy disk?

If you're contracting, doing Gigs; if you've launched a business or about to, you're on the right track. Because there's still plenty of space for those with heart, soul and humanity because you don't sell to robots. You're selling to people who care what they buy and who they buy it from. As wisdom says, "80% of success is how you deal with people." But understanding how to outduel the Terminator is another story.

It begins with a 7-week journey on the SS Entrepreneur-ship powered by the 5-Finger MBA, the visual, interactive entrepreneurship training - meeting face-to-face in a captivating, creative environment each Saturday morning for three hours:

  • It's visual because 70% of learning is through our eye
  • It's interactive because "doing" solidifies retention
  • It's collaborative to improve your ideas using collective brain power
  • It's clarifying to produce real-time business concept, strategy and planning
  • It's won the National Excellence Award for building the Urban Economy

Your destination is a profitable, sustainable enterprise organically grown by you and backed by an emerging Local Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Oakland.

Since 2004: 100s of new and improved businesses, 1000s of better lives, zero robots.

Location: Oakland Business Assistance Center, Ogawa Plaza
Tuition: $250 sliding scale based on income
Instructor: Boku Kodama, 40-year entrepreneur and research fanatic

There are currently no classes available.

Urban FIRE Training

Urban FIRE is currently not available.

Urban FIRE is a 16-week training program meeting once a week for three hours. Our location is at 935 Union Street at the corner of 10th Street in West Oakland, CA.

This is a low-cost program because our primary audience is the low income residents of the inner city and those who have been unemployed or under-employed as a result of the changing rules of work — essentially, the growing influence of the Gig Economy. We do not turn anyone away for financial reasons, and payment plans are set up for flexibility.

Tuition is on a sliding scale from $200 to $700 for the entire 16-week course. Your tuition is based on your last year's tax returns.

Our training goal is to help our students gain financial sustainability through entrepreneurial skills acquisition resulting in small business ownership that takes the form of self-employment or contract employment in the Gig Economy in specific and the greater market when the opportunities are identified.

Classroom Training — Retention and Connections

Some call it a 3-hour opera with the entire audience as the main characters. Urban FIRE is like nothing you've experienced — it's an interactive potpourri of visual information in constant motion and sound, group dynamics, world-class research and out-of-no-where knowledge — all working in harmony to create entrepreneurial mastery.

The learning is active, challenging and based on the global "Science of Expertise." The curriculum is engineered from the proven methods for the highest level of retention. Urban FIRE is 20 years of blend, sweat and terabytes of research and hope; that is, our hope that it will be the hardest work you'll ever love.

There are currently no classes available.

What They're Saying

“I want to thank you for giving me the jet-fueled start that has allowed me to flourish in my calling. You showed me how to put myself in the best mindset to learn new skills and to expand my capabilities as a solo-entrepreneur. Your Urban Fire for Women class is the foundation upon which I not only successfully returned to work after being disabled for 10 years, but also taught me to be successfully self-employed in my chosen profession. What a marvelously uplifting gift!”

— Annie Channel

“For the past 3 months I've spent 3 hours each Saturday taking one of the most impactful, life-changing courses ever: UrbanFIRE I. As result, I'm on my way to launching my own Marin business within the year. I've connected with other like-minded entrepreneurs, taken other one-day classes, and attended the 3rd Anniversary Celebration. I am planning to take UrbanFIRE II in the fall. I consider it the crown jewel of business resources in this county, not to mention San Rafael.”

— Melanie Chancellor

About the Instructor

Boku Kodama is the founder and main instructor for Urban FIRE. He has been an entrepreneur with 19 startups over a 40-year career. His entrepreneurial roots go even further back when he started a corner shop selling baseball gloves of suspicious origins at the age of nine. While this venture proved anything but profitable, his thirst for the freedom of an entrepreneurial life was established.

Boku's work has been cited by the US Department of Labor as the nation's top technology training program; by a national magazine as one of 7 solutions to the nation's inner-city economic problems; by a national urban housing association for its National Excellence Award and by a local newspaper as one of its 5 featured teachers of the year. He is also the architect of Oakland's Business Assistance Center and his concepts on small business were used in part by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2008 as part of her small business policy.

His primary startups were in the High Tech Industry working out of SOMA in San Francisco just as the technology sector became an economic force.

In 1995, he sold one of his companies and switched his focus to working in the non-profit sector, first training inner city residents in high tech skills and three years later, dedicating his time to entrepreneurship research, curriculum development and teaching. His target students are those with financial hardships seeking entrepreneurial rights. Students are thrown into the Octagon for hands-on challenges striving to gain the knowledge for financial security.

Check Out Boku's Recommended Reading 2017

About Urban FIRE

Urban FIRE (Financial Intelligence, Responsible Entrepreneurship) was conceived by outliers as a survival tool for those living in the neglected areas of the inner city. From these beginnings, the foremost guiding principle was to build self-directed, self-determined, self-managed individuals - graduating from survival mode to self-employed.

Over the next two decades, Urban FIRE elevated itself through research on business and human performance coming from Carnegie-Mellon, Harvard, Stanford and UC Berkeley. These findings were combined with real life entrepreneurial experiences spanning three decades.

The result is a training program equipping its graduates with the tools to launch businesses and venture into the Gig Economy - prepared to take on the obvious challenges and the not-so-obvious unknown.

Our Partners — Enhancing the Experience

Urban FIRE succeeds for our students because of our community partners. Their expertise and connections work hand-in-hand with our training to produce some of the best results for our graduates. These results include advisory networks, joint ventures, referrals, peer-to-peer activities, event inclusion, financial aid and on-going education.

At the forefront are the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center and the Oakland Housing Authority, both providing financial, physical and personnel assistance and management. Their leadership has injected a level of management that is unmatched.

Also working alongside is Kiva Oakland, the Oakland Business Assistance Center and CAMEO (California Association of Micro Enterprise Opportunities).

Contact Information

Urban FIRE classes are held in Oakland, CA.
Classroom location will be announced when the next class is announced.

Location to be announced