70 SBDC Founders Confirm ‘We Mean Business!’

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  • The WEV team: Marsha Bailey, Kathleen O’Donnell and Angel Cottrell

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    The WEV team: Marsha Bailey, Kathleen O’Donnell and Angel Cottrell

A Dozen Local Businesses Helped Host the Synergy Summit SBDC Lunch

By Patric Hedlund

How can we keep jobs and services on the mountain? How can we keep the small businesses that are already here strong and resilient through these tough economic times? How can we market this region to grow our ecotourism appeal? What do we need in place as business owners to win a good financing package that we can afford? Does the economic downturn also present opportunities? How can we be ready for them?

Synergy Energy

These questions and more about maintaining the health and morale of our local small businesses are the motivation behind a five-month effort by The Mountain Enterprise “Synergy Summit” project to win a local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) satellite office right here on the mountain.

The good news is that federal funds have now been won to open that local office and to provide free consulting, coaching and workshops to Mountain Community entrepreneurs.

Mountain Magic

The enthusiasm and good work of Diane Howerton, Regional Director of the SBDC network (based at the University of California, Merced in Fresno) made it possible. Newspaper reports about the effort caught the eye of new Mountain Community resident Angel Cottrell, who works with Women’s Economic Development and Small Business Fund (WEV, pronounced “weave”). She said “mountain magic” and the spirit of local business people here is contagious. She worked with Howerton and WEV (which is based in Santa Barbara) to develop a service contract specifically for mountain businesses.


About 70 business owners gathered to launch the mountain’s own SBDC at a Synergy Summit lunch at Cuddy Hall on March 25. Local business owners (listed at the right on this page) generously pitched in to host the lunch.

Attendees got right to work to learn how to benefit and to set up free consulting appointments.

Angel Cottrell was introduced. She will be the SBDC satellite director and will conduct the first consultations to meet local business people and learn what types of workshops and specialist expertise will be most useful to bring to this area for our specific needs.

Cottrell introduced WEV’s founder, Marsha Bailey (who began the successful effort 20 years ago and has watched it grow to expand its services to men and women in three counties) and WEV’s Development Director Kathleen O’Donnell, who helped raise the matching funds to open the Mountain Communities SBDC center.

Location, Location, Location

To start, Cottrell will be meeting business owners at the Chamber of Commerce office by appointment at 3717-A Mt. Pinos Way in Frazier Park. Contact her at acottrell@wevonline.org for details.

Come Prepared

The center director asks that these items be brought to the first appointment: Current profit and loss report, balance sheet, cash flow statement, current marketing materials, business plan and your top three questions. Contact Cottrell about additional items she might like you to bring.

Grand Opening June 17

Who doesn’t like to party? A Grand opening celebration to which state, county and regional leaders will be invited will be held June 17 at the SBDC office. If you have ideas or questions about the event, contact acottrell@wevonline.org.

Sincere Thanks

The Synergy Summit Business Lunch was made possible by: The Screaming Squirrel Restaurant, Caveman Cavey’s Pizza, Mike’s Pizza, La Sierra Mexican Restaurant, Mountain View Market, Frazier Park Market, Wild at Heart Nursery, Coffee Cantina, The Lake of the Woods Property Owners Association, Mountain Communities Chamber of Commerce, Pine Mountain Village Merchants Association and The Mountain Enterprise.

This is part of the April 09, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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