Monday, May 21, 2007

10 Questions With Charles Eason

10 Questions With Charles Eason
By Ines Bebea

Title: Director

Company: Solano College Small Business Development Center

Address: 360 Campus Lane, Suite 102

Phone: 864-3382

Web site:

1. What are the biggest challenges you face in your position?

Having to continually seek funding to keep the Small Business Development Center program alive and get the word out about what we do. Many people say they wish they had heard of us when they were first getting started in business.

2. How do you overcome these obstacles?

By developing strong relationships with all the cities, county and economic development partners and private sector supporters so that we can leverage the federal and state dollars. For the challenge of making people aware of our programs, we have to rely on publicity and networking since we do not have a marketing budget.

3. What role do you have in the future of the economy?

Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, both locally and nationally. They account for over 97 percent of the businesses here in Solano County, and nationwide create two-thirds of all jobs. I see my role as helping to nurture new businesses and helping existing businesses grow and prosper.

4. What areas are suffering?

Downtowns have been struggling. It has been particularly difficult for the independent businesses to survive and thrive. Unless you are a destination business, it is difficult to rely on foot traffic. It comes down to creating a critical mass to attract the foot traffic downtown.

5. If you had the power to directly influence the economy, what would you do?

I would focus on creating an economy based on bringing in dollars from outside the region. Many of our residents commute outside the county for work. It would be great to provide more opportunities for them to work in Solano County so that they can spend more time with their families and be more involved in the community.

6. What is your long-term plan?

I would like us to build an economy based on innovation that creates fast growing "gazelle" companies. I'm planning on pursuing some federal funding through the Partnerships for Innovation from the National Science Foundation to bring together education, government, and private-sector resources around such an effort.

7. What's the last book you read?

"Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren.

8. What do you do to relax?

Sit in our hot tub thinking about business ideas.

9.What's the last movie you saw?

If you don't count the 3D IMAX Dinosaur movie I saw recently, it would be the motivational documentary called "The Secret."

10. What is your biggest accomplishment?

Becoming a respected member of the community, and a person that people say is someone you should talk to if you have entrepreneurial dreams.

Reach Ines Bebea at 427-6934 or

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