Everyone has heard the stories about how some guy made an obscene amount of money by selling rocks as pets or how someone became undeservedly wealthy by selling a blanket with sleeves. Incidentally, the Pet Rock sold for $3.95 and the idea grossed $15 million and the Snuggie reportedly made more than $500 million in only five years after its induction into pop culture in 2008 according to Scott Boilen CEO of Allstar Products Group. These multi-million dollar flukes are fun to muse over or complain about, but the heart of the matter is that if you want to succeed, it is going to take a lot of hard work and sacrifice, and even that might not be enough. The Mission Community Services Corporation (MCSC) is a non-profit that serves San Luis Obispo and Kern counties by educating aspiring business owners on how to plan, prepare and be successful at starting a business.
If knowledge is power, then the MCSC is a powerhouse for small business entrepreneurs. The non-profit offers consulting and learning programs to aide people in starting their business venture.
“We tell people to take the business startup classes, do the consulting with us,” said Chuck Jehle, MCSC program director. “The consulting is always at no charge, the classes have a small fee.”
The cost of the classes can range from $100 to $400, depending on the person’s income level, but the classes themselves are valued up to $1600.
“We don’t want to turn anyone away, because of income,” Jehle said.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, small business that receive consulting have an 80% improved chance of being in business after 3 years than those that do not receive consulting.
In 2006, MCSC of San Luis Obispo joined the Women’s Business Center (WBC) national network to educate would be small business owners on the intricacies of starting and maintaining a business. In 2016 alone, the organization held 214 training events that had 2,834 attendees and totaled more than 7300 training hours. Through grants from the Small Business Association (SBA) and matching donations from community sponsors, MCSC has helped launch 165 businesses in the last 10 years and has brought an estimated $26.5 million to the Central Coast economy.
Their entrepreneur-training course entitled “Start, Run & Grow” is a 12-week course with three hour classes held once a week. There is also a Spanish equivalent of the course called “Empezando.” Apart from the classes and free consultations, MCSC also does monthly workshops that explore different venues to promote and fund current businesses. Scheduled for April 18, the next two-hour workshop will be about utilizing Instagram for a company’s digital presence. They also host monthly 1.5-hour sessions called Brown Bag Workshops, the upcoming one is called Freelancing Your Way to Freedom.
Ana Rodarte owner of the Mexican restaurant Las Delicias de Zacatecas in SLO was a former student of the Empezando program. After 18 years working as a Cal Poly custodian and becoming known for her authentic Mexican dishes, Rodarte took advantage of the education and resources MCSC offered and opened her own business. She now employees 7 people at her restaurant with plans to hire more and helps MCSC by volunteering to be a guest speaker as well as catering classes.
MSCS reports that the average of women starting business for SLO County is 1.4, just below the national average of 1.5. In the past 3 years 78% of their SLO clientele was female and 61% for Kern County.
For more information, visit www.mscorp.org or call 805-595-1357
To see additional social media sites, visit; https://www.facebook.com/MissionCommunityServicesCorp or https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz0MdHHioW6ebzN53FEpwzg
By Mark A. Diaz