MENDOCINO Co., 10/7/21 — Applications are now open for “early stage” local businesses to participate in the second round of West Center’s StartUp Mendocino program, which helps provide support and training for 12 Mendocino County entrepreneurs in the early years of opening their business. The Mendocino Voice was honored to participate in the program during the first round in 2019, and we learned a lot that has been helpful towards growing our new outlet.
This year’s program will include extensive virtual training in a variety of different skills in business operations over the course of 23 weeks, beginning in January, 2022. Businesses in their first one to three years in operation can apply at this website until October 25, 2021, and the final applicants will be announced in late November.
Here’s the announcement from West Center, with more details about the scope of the program:
FORT BRAGG, Calif. – September 15, 2021 – The bedrock of economic growth over the next decade is to support and strengthen the small businesses in our communities so they can withstand the challenges of rapid change that require businesses to be agile and resilient. For this reason, West Business Development Center (“West Center”) is pleased to announce that applications will open on October 1, 2021 for StartUp Mendocino, their business accelerator program. This no-cost program is designed to give local entrepreneurs with great ideas the opportunity to participate in an intensive training/mentoring program to spark new thinking about what is possible for their business, their community, and the economy of Mendocino County. Participants will build stronger and more lasting business and community connections that will enable their businesses to become self-sufficient and resilient.
StartUp Mendocino 2022 builds upon West Center’s successful pilot program that launched in 2019 with a Business Bootcamp with 5 finalists selected from more than 80 applicants. The program culminated in a Pitch Competition event that attracted 200 community attendees to celebrate the participants’ entrepreneurial spirit and vision.
For StartUp Mendocino 2022, twelve early-stage entrepreneurs will be selected to participate in a specially designed curriculum that will provide participants with the tools to make their businesses more efficient, effective, productive, and profitable, and will also establish a peer-to-peer network to provide ongoing collaboration beyond the program’s timeline.
The program is slated to begin on January 10, 2022 running until the program’s event finalé on Friday June 13, 2022. At the outset, the 12 participants will be assigned to one of three groups that will meet in one- to two-hour virtual sessions over the course of the program, which consists of 36 hours of instructor-led training. Over the course of the 23-week program participants will be introduced to new approaches in a series of five modules that address business and financial planning, successful branding and marketing, technology and best practices for e-commerce, time management, and how to pitch your business.
Throughout the program, West Center will provide participants with experts in the field of marketing, financial planning, human resources, and goal setting. In addition they will benefit from community outreach about each of the participants’ business ventures and have access to planning departments, media contacts, and local organizations that will support their growth.
Laura Brooks, StartUp Mendocino’s Program Director, stated, “This is an opportunity for developing businesses to learn from their peers, industry experts, and business leaders in a no-cost, low-stress environment. StartUp Mendocino will provide instruction on a range of essential business practices that will provide a solid foundation for an enduring business model.”
The main criteria for submitting a StartUp Mendocino application include: the business is located in Mendocino County; and the business has been operational for between one and three years. At this time, the program is not available to cannabis-related businesses.
Applications for entry into the program open at 9AM on Friday October 1, 2021 at www.westcenter.org/startup-mendo. The closing date for applications is Monday October 25, 2021. All applications will go before a selection committee comprised of business and community leaders and stakeholders. The final 12 applicants will be announced on Wednesday November 24, 2021 and the course kicks off in January 2022.
StartUp Mendocino 2022 is made possible by the generous support of our sponsors, which include: The John and Sandra Mayfield Family Economic Development Fund of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Adventist Health, Tri Counties Bank, Charles D. “Charlie” Kelly, LPL Financial LLC, The Madrones, Café Beaujolais, and Lia Patterson at Luxe Places International Realty. West Center is still actively seeking sponsorship and volunteers for this Mendocino business accelerator program.