Small business owners and consultants celebrated the 100 percent success rate for local businesses completing their business plans through the Ventures and Visions Self Employment Training. Back row: Heather and Robin Conover, Chris Buma, Lois Lopez, Kim Etheridge, Ian Nichols, Richard Hoegh, Dr. Craig Ravenscroft ; Middle: Anita Anderson, Michelle Nosco, Barbara Murray, Moxie McMahon, Pam McCain, Linda Perry, Tammie Goddard, Ginger Martin, Mar Preston, Cindy Clark, Roger Mantor; Front: Jace McMahon, Jay Thompson, Robin Crist, Tabatha Hufford and Angel Cottrell
By Patric Hedlund
This community is making history once again. It was about two years ago that Mountain Community business people began gathering in Synergy Summit meetings at Los Pinos Restaurant, the Holiday Inn Express and Cuddy Hall to explore ways we could all work together to combat the recession.
The Mountain Enterprise convened the meetings. Our goal was to bring every state and federal resource possible to help our local businesses help themselves. We had immediate response from the Small Business Administration (SBA). They introduced us to Diane Howerton, Regional Network Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) working through the University of California, Merced (in Fresno).
We were very fortunate that a nonprofit based in Santa Barbara with over 25 years of expertise (Women’s Economic Ventures and Small Business Loan Fund—or WEV) was motivated to work with our community. They sent Angel Cottrell, who has accomplished great things, including tripling the original funding allocation so that today we have our own Mountain Communities Small Business Development Center in Frazier Park, offering free consulting to local businesses.
Now, 22 business owners— 100 percent of the class— have completed the SET (Self Employment Training) course by completing comprehensive business plans, a new record for WEV. Here are Cottrell’s notes.
Director’s Notes: Mountain’s Small Businesses Get SET for Success
By Angel Cottrell, Center Director
Mountain Communities SBDC of WEV
On August 23, 22 local business owners successfully completed the Mountain Communities Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Self Employment Training course (known as SET). The Self-Employment Training course is a comprehensive 14- week, 56-hour course, using Women’s Economic Ventures’ (WEV) own proven curriculum, “From Vision to Venture” which helps clients write business plans in order to start or to expand microenterprises or small businesses.
The training covers selfassessment, market research, business feasibility, identification of target market, writing a marketing plan, evaluation of business finances including break-even analysis, start up or growth costs, one- and threeyear cash flow projections, operational and personnel management and utilizing all research and information to write a complete business plan.
The Charter Class of Kern County had a 100% business plan completion rate. This is the first time in WEV’s history for such success.
Beginning in May, local business owners went to class for 3 hours per week, participated in individual SBDC consulting weekly. The Mountain Communities SBDC delivered more than 500 hours of free consulting to community businesses during this time period. Students also completed 10-12 hours of homework each week.
The dedication and time these business owners committed not only to their individual businesses but to one another’s businesses was remarkable.
Each week, business owners became more confident in their ability to make decisions that would support their business goals, as well as each other’s dreams for success.
It became apparent to all of us as each week passed that the success of each of individual business owner translates into success for our local economy. Working together to support one another’s goals and dreams gives a boost to our entire community.
It took a combination of resources to ensure this class was made available to our community,
Thank you to the Lake of the Woods Property Owners Association for the use of Cuddy Hall.Thank you to Kern Women’s and Girls’ Fund for the $5,000 grant to support local women to take the course. Thank you to The Mountain Enterprise for coverage of all SBDC news and events. We appreciate our SBDC consultants, Paul Edwards, Pam McCain, Lois Lopez, Jay Thompson and Rachel Unell who worked tirelessly to ensure all business owners could keep up with the assignments while life happened.
Thank you to our local business owners who gave this class their all for 14 weeks, I could not be prouder of all of you. I look forward to your continued success and appreciate the opportunity to serve our community.
I will be presenting the Live Local survey results to our community on Tuesday, September 20 at 7 p.m. in the Frazier Mountain Community Center. I hope all business owners in the community will attend this meeting to discuss some of the opportunities and challenges facing business owners locally. Our class utilized the information gathered from the local community last winter to help support our market research efforts. Come out to join the discussion.
This is part of the September 09, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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