Posts in From The CEO's Desk
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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Fierce Women Make a Difference

Over the years my work has taken me to many conferences and gatherings around the world that celebrate the achievements of women and their organizations. Woman are often in the forefront of social innovation tackling societal problems in creative ways using science, technology and the arts. Think of organizations like Woman to Women International, Girls Who Code or The Malala Fund; all global organizations conceived by women who saw a corner of the world that was in dire need of help.

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Sheilah Rogers and West Company: Women Empowering Women (and Men too!)

When Mendocino County native Sheilah Rogers went off to graduate school at the prestigious School for International Development in Vermont she had no idea pursuing her love for international initiatives would bring her right back home.

In 1987 the James Irvine Foundation, a California-based grant making organization partnered with the Coalition for Women’s Economic Development. This was an organization dedicated to lifting women and people with low incomes out of poverty through what was then called, self-employment.  

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Going Digital in 2019

One of the top things I hear from the hundreds of businesses we work with every year in Mendocino County, is about “going digital”. Clients ask us everyday, “How do I even start?” or “I want to learn digital but I don’t have time”. As a person who had her own small graphic design business back when I used a ruler, drafting table and a telephone, I know how daunting dipping a toe in the digital world can be.

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The Government Has Returned – But is it Fast Enough to Help Rural Non-profits?

Running a non-profit has never been an easy job, driven by a mission, dictated by a Board, and more often than not scrambling to pay the bills each month. In a rural economy, non-profits often fill the necessary gaps in social services when local governments and private enterprise cannot. In Mendocino County there are more than 600 non-profits serving a county of 89,000 people.

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