By David Benda Redding Record Searchlight, Calif.
Chasing a dream is easy, but turning it into a sustainable business can be difficult.
Kate O'Brien of Grenada started Homeward Bounty Farm in 2013, growing vegetables for farmers markets and a community supported agriculture program. The 40-acre farm is the culmination of dream for the Siskiyou County native.
"I think following your dream is really important but you need to supplement that dream with the reality of knowing how to run a business and JEDI has helped me realize that," O'Brien said.
JEDI, or Jefferson Economic Development Institute, has helped individuals start their own businesses for nearly 20 years. Now the nonprofit is bringing its training and resources to Shasta County.
JEDI will host "It's Your Business" on Saturday at the Shasta Builders Exchange in Redding. Classes also will be held May 2, May 16 and May 30.
The entrepreneurial seminar is among the courses and training JEDI hopes to bring to Shasta and two other counties after being designated a regional Women's Business Center by the U.S. Small Business Administration last fall.
The nonprofit's resources also have expanded to Trinity and Humboldt counties with the designation.
Nancy Swift, executive director of JEDI in Mount Shasta, first spoke of the new designation in January during a women's business forum in Redding. The forum was sponsored by The Women's Fund of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation and U.S. Bank.
"We are very excited because at that forum there was a lot of interest" for the upcoming business startup classes, Swift said. "In my experience, people are hungry for some information, whether they are a startup, have a good idea for a business or they are in the position to generate some income."
Swift said more than 15 people had signed up for the upcoming seminar as of last week.
Jefferson Economic Development Institute has been serving small business owners in Siskiyou County since it was established in 1996.
"For us, it's exciting because our territory is now bigger and we can add our expertise," Swift said.
Swift said women start about 30 percent of the new businesses in Shasta County. The number is even higher in Siskiyou County. Elizabeth Bugler, a dental hygienist who owns RDH Holistic Dental Care, said the JEDI classes encouraged her to add more product and services.
"I've ended up making more profit so I am very busy now," Bugler said.
Bugler is an independent distributor for Purium Health Products, a company she said JEDI helped hook her up with.
"JEDI has given me so much knowledge. I had no idea everything that goes into creating your own business," Bugler said.
The classes will be taught by JEDI business trainer Joy Taylor, who has owned and operated her own small business for 20 years. She has taught the "It's Your Business" seminar for seven years.
The four classes are funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Small Business Administration Women's Business Center and Northeastern California Small Business Development Center in Shasta County.
Among the topics that will be covered include how businesses can leverage resources, how to manage business finances and developing research, marketing and business planning skills.
If You Go What: It's Your Business When: Classes start Saturday at the Shasta Builders Exchange in Redding. The other classes are May 2, May 16 and May 30. Each class is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuition: Seminar fees based on a sliding scale from $60 to $120 with scholarships available. To register: Call Jefferson Economic Development Institute at 926-6670, 888-926-6670 or email [email protected]