Image 1 of 2
Sales Manager Debbie Bechtel and Manager Deon Henry of Holiday Inn in Lebec explain plans to attract national tour companies with news of the ecotourism and festival attractions of the Mountain Communities.
Image 2 of 2
Moxie McMahon (in brown) asks a question at the Synergy Summit Business Conference February 11. To her left is Laura Olney, of Traffic Zone. In front is Rachel Unell of GrantGopher.com and Accounting for Success. About 65 business owners attended.
Synergy Summit Wins Support for SBDC Office on Mountain
By Patric Hedlund
Free consulting, business coaching, management workshops and help in developing financing are on their way to this Mountain Community to give a lift to local business owners struggling to keep people employed, lights on and doors open.
Immediately following the Synergy Summit business conference Thursday, Feb. 11, negotiations were completed to open a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) satellite office here. The contract will start on March 1.
Enthusiasm was high at the summit. About 65 business owners, entrepreneurs and managers participated.
That lively spirit fueled the decision Friday, Feb. 12 between Diane Howerton (SBDC regional network director for 15 counties) and Santa Barbara-based WEV (pronounced “weave”— Women’s Economic Ventures and Small Business Fund) to accelerate plans to locate an office here on the mountain—and to more than double the previously proposed budget.
Angel Cottrell, WEV’s client services director, lives in the Mountain Communities.
“This is phenomenal,” Cottrell said, “We will be on a very fast track to get in the right resources to get everybody moving.”
A Synergy Summit Business Conference will be held on March 25 at Cuddy Hall to set up the year’s schedule and to sign people into the program.
WEV has been serving Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties for 20 years, expanding its mission to serve men and women entrepreneurs to develop capital and skills.
More than $130,355,000 in capital investment has been brought into this 15-county SBDC region in the past six years, with 3,081 jobs created or retained, 409 new businesses started and 10,430 business owners served, Howerton said.
Those that received in-depth SBDC assistance experienced sales growth of 15.4 percent in 2007-08 compared to 2.5 percent for other California businesses and SBDC clients create 15.7 times more jobs than other California businesses, according to research published in 2008, Howerton said.
Capital investment of $27,422,000 was brought into the Kern, Mono and Inyo counties area with the help of SBDC efforts in that time.
The Mountain Enterprise (based in Frazier Park) initiated the outreach and coordinated the event hosted by the Holiday Inn Express Hotel of Lebec. The goal was to introduce resource people and explain how a SBDC office right here on the mountain can channel resources to focus on the specific needs of local businesses.
The Mountain Enterprise has partnered with The Mountain Communities Chamber of Commerce and the Pine Mountain Village Merchants Association in the efforts to secure mountain-based services for area businesses.
This is part of the February 19, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.