The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, May. 22, 2024

Learn to be an entrepreneur

Over the years, the OSU Extension Van Wert County Economic Development Office has collaborated with the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce and Wright State University Business Enterprise Center (BEC) on many different projects. In 2008, we saw an increased interest in individuals wanting to become self-employed, so a decision was made to offer a free venue where high school students, hobby enthusiasts, the under-employed, retired or anyone seeking to gain economic independence could attend to gather information on the first steps of starting a business and creating an opportunity to network with area professionals. Hence, the Entrepreneurship Fair was created.  By 2011, the organizations involved, which now included Main Street Van Wert and the Community Improvement Corporation, took all past participant and presenter feedback into consideration and decided to offer a Saturday-morning-only event covering basic business start-up items and bringing together professionals to address some business start-up concerns.

For the second consecutive year, the Entrepreneurship Fair will be held in The Community Room of the newly reconstructed Vantage Career Center, 818 N. Franklin Van Wert.  It offers easy access, a comfortable classroom setting, and all the video, audio and technology needs. There will be refreshments available too.

The agenda begins with a panel of local entrepreneurs; in the past we have heard from Dan Custis of ABM, Dawn Cooper of Rehab Fab, Jim Miller of Miller Precision Manufacturing, and Juli Hamilton of Something From the Garden, just to name a few. This year we have Tom Turnwald of Teem Wholesale, and Vickie Schulte of Once I Was. During this session, the attendees appreciate the honesty, emotion, dedication and enthusiasm they hear as the panel speaks of obstacles and accomplishments encountered in pursuit of their dream.

Then Gary Corcoran, who wears many hats, with one of them being a BEC Counselor, leads a session on “The First Steps of Starting a Business: The Business Plan”.  As they say, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  We cannot stress enough how important a business plan is as it serves as a road map to your business success. It helps you create realistic goals and make logical decisions. Will you be able to cash flow this project and, if not, what are your options?

That leads us to the next session presented by area lenders. This year, Denise Frey of First Financial Bank and Al Saylor of Citizens National Bank will show participants what it takes to be bankable, the 5Cs of Credit: Character, Capacity, Capital, Conditions, and Collateral.   Many add a sixth C: Confidence.

Not only do we encourage budding entrepreneurs to meet with their banker and a business counselor prior to moving forward, but also with an attorney, accountant, the zoning board, insurance advisor, maybe a realtor, contractor, and a marketing professional. And for a couple hours this Saturday, November 9, you have access to all of them at no charge.

MSVW Program Manager Adam Ries will facilitate a question-and-answer session between a panel of local experts and the audience.  This year’s’ experts include attorney Aaron Baker, CPA Rick Sealscott, realtor Chet Straley, insurance advisor Eric Hurless, graphic designer Ty Coil, commercial lender Al Saylor and Darrin Regedanz with Alexander & Bebout.  We greatly thank these individuals, as well as all presenters, for donating their time.

The event then draws to a close around noon, but not until we announce plans for our third annual Business Plan Challenge. Individuals looking to begin a business in Van Wert County can create, submit and present a business plan to a panel of judges for the chance to win up to $2,500 in business development funds.  The award will be presented in February 2014. This allows individuals time to put thought on paper, do the necessary research and to attend business counseling sessions on business plan basics, marketing methods, financial statements and funding sources, all offered locally by the Wright State University Lake Campus Business Enterprise Center.

There is no fee and no obligation to attend this event or any counseling sessions, just your desire to learn more about “what it takes to become a business owner.”  Hope to see you there this Saturday, November 9, from 8 a.m. to noon.

Darlene Myers, RLF Program Manager
Van Wert County Economic Development

POSTED: 11/08/13 at 6:18 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions