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A total of 23 entreprenuers graduated from the Mountain Communities SBDC Self Employment workshop Thursday, Dec. 12. Shown above are some of the group at the festive graduation ceremony at the Montecito Country Club in Santa Barbara: (l-r, back) Robin and Heather Conover, Lois Lopez, Tammie Goddard, Consultant Jay Thompson, Susan ‘Moxie’ McMahon,Tabitha Hufford, Cindy Clark; (front) Pam McCain, SBDC Center Director Angel Cottrell, Barbara Murray, Anita Anderson, Michelle Nosco and Mar Preston.
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SET graduates Heather and Robin Conover with daughter Alexis.
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Mountain Communities Small Business Development Center Director Angel Cottrell looks on proudly as graduates from the Self Employment Training (SET) class tell their business dreams.
By Patric Hedlund
Festive holiday lights twinkled at the gracious Montecito Country Club in Santa Barbara December 15 as Frazier Mountain Community entrepreneurs walked to a microphone and—one by one—told the world their dreams.
Robin and Heather Conover of Piñon Pines are opening a school to train people nationwide in computer animation over the internet. Cindy Clark of Pine Mountain makes rhinestone-studded fitted Tshirts that she markets internationally as part of her “Pit Chicks” apparel line.
Barbara Murray of Frazier Park helps small businesses keep a tight grip on their finances by setting them up in their own customized QuickBooks accounting systems. Anita Anderson of Piñon Pines is starting a business to help elders live independently, in their own homes, so they can “age in place,” surrounded by their own community. Novelist Mar Preston of Pine Mountain has turned the publishing and marketing of her murder mysteries into a solid DIY business plan in which she—not a New York label—keeps the profits from her success.
This is just a small sampling of the 23 local entrepreneurs who learned this year that the most stable job in a rural area is in the business you own yourself.
Angel Cottrell, director of the Mountain Communities Small Business Development Center (SBDC), presented a 14-week intensive workshop with 56 hours of classroom Self Employment Training (SET) developed by Women’s Economic Ventures and Small Business Loan Fund (WEV) of Santa Barbara; 365 individual hours of consulting were also provided by specialists.
“These business owners have an understanding now of the difference between working in their business and workng on their business—to build financial projections, cash flow management, marketing plans as well as sales strategies and developing networks….”
The Mountain Communities SBDC boasts the first 100 percent SET completion rate in WEV’s history, with all pariticpants completing rigorous business plans, Cottrell said proudly.
“And that makes them ready for capital infusion,” Cottrell added noting that $11,500 in microloans have been disbursed to these owners. Meanwhile, 99 percent of $12,000 loaned to merchants for last year’s Holiday Faire has already been repaid.
This is part of the December 23, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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