By Mary Anne Petrillo, CEO West Business Development Center

When was the last time you put all your energy towards learning a new skill — and got joy from the process? As I watch the journey of each of our 12 intrepid Startup Mendocino entrepreneurs, I love seeing how their smiles have grown with each session. The light bulb is on and they are working hard turning their passions and ideas into a business reality. 

In my last blog, I talked about why West decided on a competition-based training program to ignite ideas and entrepreneurship in Mendocino County. Upon our launch on May 13th, we didn’t know what the outcome might be. I was a thrill to receive more than 80 applications with terrific business ideas and passion projects. It’s a wonderful cross-section that represents our county. Take a moment to learn a little more about them recorded during their very first session, here.

From the onset of Startup Mendocino, we could feel the energy and excitement from the applicants, the community and our sponsors, and that is continuing to be true as the 12 selected participants go through our Startup Mendocino Business Bootcamp this summer. Every few weeks, all 12 are gathering either in Fort Bragg or Ukiah to learn the nitty gritty details about finances, vision, marketing and more for their business ideas. The Startup Mendocino trainers Paul Bozzo and Rachel Clark have taken great care to guide and instruct the participants on ways to think about their business model. Their homework includes research, writing a pitch presentation and identifying their markets. 

What’s remarkable to see and hear is not only the feedback we’re getting from the participants about how this training is exactly what they needed to jumpstart their business, we’re also seeing how this group is learning from one another. Collaboration and learning about what it takes to start a business, troubleshooting the common problems every entrepreneur faces, and helping each other is proving to be just as valuable as the curriculum West BDC has put together. We think this might be one of the most exciting parts of the program and stay tuned as I have a feeling we’ll be building on this in the months to come.

As participants go through their final Business Bootcamp sessions, they will then compete at a private semi-final event August 5th to decide which five of the 12 will go on to compete at the Gala August 25th. Given the strong camaraderie, and the tight-knit group they’ve become, my guess is that they will all be rooting strongly for each other all the way through. I invite you to join us August 25th to see the fruits of their labor, partake from Mendocino’s fine food and beverages, and of course, cast your vote on who will take home that grand prize.

Tickets for the Startup Mendocino Competition Gala Are Now on Sale

This family-friendly event takes place in Ukiah at the Mendocino College theater on August 25th. Tickets are $10 and include beer, wine, refreshments, local food and prizes — and most importantly, a chance to cast your vote to determine who will win the grand prize for Startup Mendocino. Click here to buy tickets now.

Startup Mendocino is a Business Bootcamp and Pitch Competition designed to spark new thinking about what is possible in Mendocino County through entrepreneurship. Startup Mendocino is sponsored by the West Business Development Center, America’s SBDC, The John and Sandra Mayfield Economic Development Fund at the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Adventist Hospital, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Economic Development and Financing Corporation, Mendocino College, North Coast Brewery, Harvest Market, and the Ukiah, Coast and Willits Chambers of Commerce and The Coast, KOZT.

Startup Mendocino is supported by the Small Business Administration and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Business & Economic Development.

As always, to sign up for free business advising from WestBDC go here

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