Center Helps Would-Be Small Business Owners
By Ines Bebea
Instructor Sandy Stelter gives a workshop on starting and managing a business at the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce. The Small Business Development Center sponsors an array of seminars and workshops. (Photo by Zachary Kaufman)
FAIRFIELD - For the past 20 years, the Solano College Small Business Development Center has quietly nurtured the entrepreneurial spirit of the 1,200 people who attend workshops and the 400 people seeking advice from their business consultants each year.
While it receives funding from federal, state, county and local governments, it does all of its work without a marketing budget and relies heavily on word of mouth, its Web site and networking to spread the word about the multitude of resources available for hopeful business owners.
"Our mission is to help businesses get started and expand," said Charles Eason, director of SCSBDC, who has been at the helm since 2003. "And we do this is two phases, first by offering courses on how to successfully run a business and all that it entails, and second by providing one-on-one free advice with business experts."
The center offers over 100 free and fee-based courses and workshops each year, with an array of topics that runs the gamut from researching a business idea, writing a business plan, launching the business, hiring and managing employees, to help in locating and preparing how to apply for financing. There are more 1,100 programs like this nationwide, with the 110 in California associated with community colleges under the economic and work force development programs.
"The majority of the people who walk through our door already have an idea of what kind of business they want to operate," said Eason. "What they need help with is the financial knowledge of how to run a business."
According to Eason, the two most prevalent issues faced by business owners are access to capital and limited understanding of business practices. A few of the reasons why many small businesses fail within the first three to five years is because they don't anticipate expenses, do not market their business properly and some try to expand too early.
The SBA defines a small business as any company with a 100 employees or less and with up to $5 million in sales revenue. Locally, at least 90 percent of businesses in Solano County are small businesses.
"Small businesses are an important component of the economy ," said Eason. "Because they provide services and hire from the local workforce. Many large corporations today at one point were a small business. While that doesn't happen to all, you can certainly be successful as a business owner."
Eason knows first hand the kind of odds that entrepreneurs face to succeed. When he was laid off from his job as an aerospace engineer in 1991, he and his wife opened two Bitter Sweet Coffee shops in San Bernardino and Ontario.
"Running a business was a great learning experience for me," he said. "We sold one business and closed the other one. So I've experienced both sides of the coin. I can definitely relate to what people go through."
Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or email@example.com.
WHY THEY START
Top seven reasons why people open their own business
1. Passionate hobby/to do work I love (28 percent)
2. Be my own boss (25 Percent)
3. To make more money (18 percent)
4. To create something people need (11 percent)
5. For the challenge (10 percent)
6. To get rich (or nearly rich) (6 percent)
7. Other (3 percent)
Source: Survey by Yahoo Small Business
WHO DOES WORKSHOPS
Breakdown of SCSBDC workshops participants for the second quarter of 2006
44 percent male
46 percent female
10 percent didn't specify
40 percent Caucasian
24 percent black
15 percent Hispanic
7 percent Asian
2 percent Native American
2 percent Native Hawaiian
Source: Solano College Small Business Development Corporation
On the Web
424-C Executive Ct. North
Monday, February 12, 2007
- Biotech Behemoth Leads Vacaville Boom
- Magna Set to Jockey on Downs
- State Yanks 80/680 Junction Off Funding List
- Suisun to Consider Hampton Inn's Plans for Waterfr...
- Amusement Park Adds Extra Dimension to Nut Tree Vi...
- Nut Tree Set For Phase 2
- Solano Cities Hope Hotels Can Help Tap Into Touris...
- Revenue Outlook Is Rosy For Dixon
- 'Napa Valley Cuisine at Vacaville Prices'
- County May Lower Solar Panel Cost Again
- Supes to Pick New Members of General Plan Committe...
- Realizing our economic potential in Solano County
- Solano homes slightly more affordable
- East Bay's housing slump may soon affect jobs, st...
- Spirits of invention - sacbee.com
- A Federal Reserve economist sees job growth, housi...
- Wolk Backs Fix At I-80, 680 Merge
- Old Country Roofing Dives Further Into Solar
- Water Money Flows
- Expect Good Job Prospects in Solano County This Ye...
- Governor Stokes Hope for Interchange Funding
- State Stem Cell Grants Awarded
- Racetrack Campaign Brings Out Big Gun
- Survey Shows Local Employers Ready to Expand Workf...
- Health and Crime Lab in the Works
- Building For Education
- East Bay home sales down again in January
- Will Solano County someday add another city?
- Solano County enjoyed a remarkable - and record-br...
- Two University of California Davis scientists won ...
- '08 should be big year for I-80 repair
- UC Davis Health System has major economic impact o...
- CTC staff puts widening of Highway 12 in Jameson C...
- Solano Supes increase emergency funds
- STA determines priority projects
- Bay Area home prices, sales sliding toward cellar
- More employers recruit the military work ethic - T...
- First Northern Bank, announced the appointment of ...
- Woodland's future has its bright spots
- Solano County unemployment dipped to 4.5 percent i...
- Vallejo car mart alternative to purchasing vehicle...
- Solano waiting to see if highway projects on list
- View From Fhe Summit
- Solano Waiting to See if Highway Projects on List
- Business, Government Leaders Focus on Working Toge...
- BAY AREA
- Bay Area home sales slowest in 11 years
- Economic Summit Strategy: To Define Vision For Sol...
- Workforce Board Receives $135,000 Grant
- Ag Ambassador Making Suisun Valley a 'Must-See' De...
- Solano EDC Touts County at Conference
- Solano, Napa Clinics Receive Kaiser Windfall
- E.D.D: Drop in Jobless Rate
- Bright Budget
- Center Helps Would-Be Small Business Owners
- '08 Should Be Big Year for I-80
- Big Bay Area campuses are making it on life (scien...
- January new-home sales in Northern California reac...
- Premier Commerical Inc. PRESS RELEASE
- Dixon Smiles Beyond its Political Turbulence
- Plan to Open Staples Store Being Studied
- Major Projects May Give Boost to Suisun City
- Old Country Roofing, 40 year-old Vacaville-based c...
- Wildlands Opens Solano County Mitigation Bank
- Local Mom-and-Pop Vineyard a Winner
- BP Funds Berkeley in Biofuels Research
- Suisun City Budget Healthier Than Expected
- Solano County's Economy on the Rise
- Analysts See More Growth in Solano
- Scottrade Opens Office in Fairfield
- On the Cutting Edge
- The California Building Standards Commission has a...
- Environmental Clean-Up Firm to Head Project
- Big Building, Bigger Investment
- Dixon and Suisun City Fire Departments to Get Gran...
- Willotta Oaks
- UC Davis News & Information :: New student health ...
- Impact Report for New UC Davis Primate Center Labs...
- Vet students learn farm animal skills on the job
- $5.1 Million to Fund Ag Health and Safety Center a...
- Solano likely to benefit by Dems' clout
- Dixon sees road to better Rt. 113
- CALSTAR, short for California Shock/Trauma Air Res...
- Recruitment Coup
- BIRDS LANDING, SOLANO COUNTY
- Applications up at Sacramento State - Sacramento B...
- Cal to be hub for study of alternate fuel
- $57 Million in Measure V Funds Spent So Far on Vac...
- ▼ February (88)
- ► 2006 (662)
- ► 2005 (627)
- ► 2004 (125)