The enthusiasm in the Sequoia Room at North Coast Brewery in Fort Bragg was palpable on Monday night. It was the semi-final round of Startup Mendocino and our esteemed judges Jim Mayfield, Board Member of The John & Sandra Family Economic Fund of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Scott Yandell, President/CEO, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Ryan Quattlebaum, Financial Officer of Adventist Health, Heather Gurewitz, Excutive Director of Economic Development & Financing Corporation, Jennifer Owen, CFO of North Coast Brewing Company, Jennifer Bosma, Vice President of Harvest Market of Harvest Market, Sharon Davis, CEO of Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, Ron Moorhead, Executive Director/CEO of Willits Chamber Chamber of Commerce, Una Wirkebau, Executive Director of Greater Ukiah Chamber of Commerce weighed in on which five of our initial 12 would go on to compete live at our Gala event August 25th.

A regenerative chicken farmer, shoe designer, tech guru, arborist, media outlet, mushroom grower, yoga coach, mead maker, defensible space experts, co-working and building arts creators, herbal tea maker, these are the diverse businesses that represented our County’s startups on Monday night. 

There was no better way to see how the words like change, growth and innovation were exemplified in these 12 entrepreneurs who put their heart and soul into changing the way they think about their businesses, and themselves. They are now thinking bigger, bolder and with an eye on the future, not only for the impact that it has on their bottom line but the impact that they will have on the economy and residents of Mendocino County. 

West Business Development Center launched Startup Mendocino on May 13th with the help from the John & Sandra Mayfield Economic Development Fund, along with funding for training resources from Small Business Development Center and Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.  With that seed money we were off and running.

From there we put a call out to the County and received an overwhelming number of applications of which 12 were chosen to participate. Each business went through 12 hours of intensive workshop training in our Business Bootcamp, and one-on-one training with our specialist advisors.  Clarifying their visions, creating a business plan, gaining a deep financial understanding and the ability to convey their passions about their businesses was something every participant threw themselves into with serious intention — and Monday night the results showed. 

As CEO of West BDC it was so gratifying to see each and every one of these individuals conquer any fears and rise to the occasion to deliver clear and articulate pitches about their businesses.  I am incredibly proud of everyone who applied, everyone who has participated so far, and our five finalists who will go on to compete August 25th. I look forward to continue supporting all these businesses and seeing them grow and flourish. And, I hope you will join us in supporting our community when our five finalists pitch live at the gala event August 25th. Everyone who attends will have a vote in deciding who takes home the grand prize, and with snacks from Slam Dunk pizza, wine from Frey Vineyards, beer from North Coast Brewery, and family friendly entertainment it will prove to be a fun day and great way to support these entrepreneurs on their journeys. See you there!

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, The John Pack and Linda Francis Family Fund at the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Ukiah Chambers of Commerce, Mendocino Coast Chambers of Commerce, Willits Chambers of Commerce, The Coast – KOZT, and the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity.

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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