Startup Mendocino in the Ukiah Daily Journal

We're thrilled at being on the front page of The Ukiah Daily Journal.

Startup Mendocino, the inaugural launch of a countywide, business-pitch competition culminating with a showcase gala event on August 25th at Mendocino College Center Theater where the first-place winner will be awarded a cash prize of $10,000, is the brainchild of Mary Anne Petrillo, CEO of West Business Development Center (formerly WEST Company).

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Why Startup Mendocino? Why Now?

Two years ago, when I first started at West Business Development Center (formerly the West Company) as CEO, I hosted a screening of the documentary Generation Startup at Mendocino Community College. For the show’s promotion I teamed up with Jeff Parker, then new General Manager of KZYX. The film was about six entrepreneurs in Detroit capturing the struggles and triumphs of people who put everything on the line to build their businesses. It's an honest, in-depth look at what it takes to launch a startup, and it demonstrated the need for more entrepreneurs in our country overall.

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Startup Mendocino: Applications Now Open

We are proud to announce that our newest program, Startup Mendocino, is now open.

Startup Mendocino is a series of intense Business Bootcamp trainings culminating in a live pitch showcase gala event for Mendocino County entrepreneurs.

This exciting competition is the first of its kind in Mendocino County. It is designed to discover new and creative business opportunities and business ideas here in our local community. We’re looking for people who seek new ways to solve old problems, people with energy and passion, people who want to build new products and design services that enhance the community they love.

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Small Business Week in Mendocino & Lake Counties

For more than fifty years, by Presidential proclamation, the Small Business Administration celebrates Small Business Week recognizing the contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than fifty percent of American either work for a small business or own one themselves – and small businesses create two out of three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

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Small Business: The Heart of Our Economic Growth

When policymakers and the public think of small businesses, most imagine single owner retail shops that have been in their neighborhood for dozens of years. But small business defined by the State of California, are any businesses with 100 people or less. On a national level, the Small Business Administration defines them as 500 or less employees. In this light, when considered collectively, small businesses truly hold the keys to our economic future.

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Ten Tips to Get Your Store, Restaurant or Lodging Establishment on The Map

Get ready for the 2019 tourist season with these ten tips from Marc Willson, a nationally known expert and speaker on helping independent and rural retailers, restaurants and lodgings win and keep customers.

West Business Development Center, in partnership with Visit Mendocino, the City of Fort Bragg and Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, is bringing Willson to the Coast for a dynamic, one-time only event Friday, May 17th at Fort Bragg Town Hall from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

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Client Story: Corrina Pena

As the owner of Frosted Bakery, and a mother of two, Corrina Pena has found a way to work and earn, while still staying home with her girls.

Corrina Pena was constantly making cakes and cupcakes for family and friends. As response to her goodies over the years kept being overwhelmingly positive, she decided to turn her baking hobby into a real business called Frosted.

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Get Found, Get Sales

In the world of internet jargon, SEO is a term thrown around almost daily. But what does it really mean? The technical definition for SEO is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results”. The real-life translation of SEO is “making your business shine online” -- so you can get found by your customers.

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Get in on the Food Truck Game: Fort Bragg

Ever since Mark Manguera and Caroline Shin partnered with chef Roy Choi in Los Angeles and started a Kogi Korean BBQ truck in 2008, food trucks have sparked a dining out revolution. Far from just “street food”, food trucks offer top-notch cuisine and drive their success with mouth-watering Instagram posts and well-timed Tweets. The industry is now at $2 billion and growing every day, empowering minority and women-owned businesses, revitalizing communities and even driving economic growth.

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Women Helping Women

West Business Development Center was founded by women trying to make a difference in their community – teaching other women technical skills and giving the tools and capital to lift themselves out of poverty and to start small businesses.  While WestBDC has shifted its focus to offer free business advising and low-cost workshops to all business owners in Mendocino County, one of our core missions with our Women’s Business Center remains. Every month we bring together women from all over Mendocino County to come together and network.

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Thriving Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

As part of my work as CEO of West BDC, I attend conferences around the U.S. to learn more about small businesses, economic growth and community development. In March I attended the 39th Annual California Economic Development Conference for the second time. This conference in particular is focused on celebrating how California’s Economic Developers are “making it happen” every day in our communities. Although we don’t often connect the dots between small business and how they contribute to our economy as a whole, and even our quality of life as a community, what I’ve seen firsthand in my work here in Mendocino and Lake County demonstrates these important links everyday.

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The Three M’s – A Secret Sauce for Restaurant Success

“From an early age I understood that cooking was never going to be a job, it’s a passion.”

--Gordon Ramsay 

Passion is the secret sauce in every successful culinary business. Whether you are starting a restaurant or a food truck, or you have been in the culinary game for years, West BDC’s Concept to Launch: Creating a Successful Culinary Business workshop will channel your passion into concrete, tangible action steps you can use right now.

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Independent Contractor vs Employee Free Webinar

West Business Development Center is co-sponsoring with Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) a free webinar focusing on the new California ABC test for independent contractor vs employee classification.

There are many types of workers in small businesses and the legal obligations can be confusing. This webinar will provide key insights into the differences between employees, interns, volunteers, and independent contractors. We will specifically discuss the new California state law and ABC independent contractor test and how to comply.

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Join the Food Truck Revolution: Get Started in Your Catering and Mobile Food Business

Ever since Mark Manguera and Caroline Shin partnered with chef Roy Choi in Los Angeles and started a Kogi Korean BBQ truck in 2008, food trucks have sparked a dining out revolution. Far from just “street food”, food trucks offer top-notch cuisine and drive their success with mouth-watering Instagram posts and well-timed Tweets. The industry is now at $2 billion and growing every day, empowering minority and women-owned businesses, revitalizing communities and even driving economic growth.

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How to Use Instagram For Your Business

Instagram is a simple-to-use platform with more than 1 billion users – and 72% of those users buy products they see on Instagram*. That means if you have a small business, you need to be there.

With more than 25 million other businesses on Instagram, you will join a platform that has the ability to broadcast your brand, your products, and special features to millions of potential customers.

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Client Story: Kiersten Hanna

It’s quite rare that you call to check on an order you placed at a local business, and get an offer to then buy the entire business. But that’s what happened to Kiersten Hanna. While working at the Mendocino County Museum in Willits she commissioned production of panels for an upcoming exhibit from Braggadoon, the sign-making business in Fort Bragg. When she called to check on her order, she found out the owner had suddenly passed away and his widow asked her if she’d like to buy the business.

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Your Website IS Your Brand

Long before anyone sets foot in your business they’ll visit your website – your website actually IS your brand to your customers and potential customers. According to Google’s 2016 data, 68% of consumers who conduct local searches on their smartphone go to a store within 24 hours, and nearly 50% make a purchase within a day. 91% of customers have visited a store because of an online experience and 37% use the Internet to find a store at least once per month. So, what does your website look like?

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Take Your Specialty Food Business from Passion to Profit in Lakeport

Cookies, cakes, fruits, nuts, jams, jellies, crackers, chips, pancakes, sauces, meats, seafood, mushrooms, organic, local, homemade – is your mouth watering yet? These are just a few of what we know as specialty food items – those delectable tidbits we fill up our grocery cart with or send to friends and family on special occasions.

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