Free small biz, entrepreneur resource happy to help you regrow
SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Practically all small businesses have felt similar pain this year.
Here you’re trying to do everything right, and then the pandemic took your clientele, your revenue — maybe your whole livelihood.
Two free programs are looking to shake things up. One aids businessowners with charting new paths for survival. The other helps people with ideas be able to discern if their business concept might sink or swim.
The NW Innovation Resource Center (NWIRC) set up the programs StartUp NW and Project Reinvent. The nonprofit works with entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers and everyday people across a five-county region.
Get-started culture urges “today is the day.”
But for those who have no job anymore?
Ideas are cheap. Execution is not.
“This is a tough time to do trial and error,” the center’s executive director Diane
In his book “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do,” Michael E. Gerber writes that even though you may have a skill, it’s folly to assume you know how to turn that skill into an independent business. He dubbed it the “Fatal Assumption.”
Avoiding the pitfall is part of StartUp NW’s goal.
StartUp NW’s experts analyze your idea to see how it will fly. They call it “validation.” This is where validation finds its strength.
People who apply get a consultation call within one business day, Kamionka said.
They’ll also connect you one-on-one with mentors who can help find you capital funding and give access to a network of experts.
Did I mention this is free?
Project Reinvent is for small businesses looking at ways to reimagine themselves without stretching themselves too thin. After all, there’s only a handful of people running the show.
They’ll be advised to go back to a startup mentality to spring forward the new idea. The same proof-of-concept analysis would be done to consider viability.
“It could be a new line, or it could be a change to the whole business,” Kamionka said.
Some have done so already.
Take John Peeters, the CEO of Penway Media. The hydroplane racer pivoted his Arlington business from signmaking to adding a venture in creating vinyl wraps for business jets and private planes using much of the tooling they already have, Kamionka said.
Another signmaker, Berry Sign Systems from Everett, is using pre-existing knowledge in light-up signs for a venture in fabricating ultraviolet lighting for disinfecting and sanitizing spaces, as recently featured in the Herald Business Journal.
An accompanying initiative, the Reinvent Corps, is to help keep resumes current for people out of work.
Reinvent Corps has skilled but laid-off workers lend their expertise to nascent startups in both the Project Reinvent and Startup NW programs.
It’s also a great networking resource, Kamionka said, and it teaches hands-on how small businesses work.
“We’re seeing a broad number of people from all walks of life joining in, and that is important to being able to have anybody come in and get help” through the programs, Kamionka said. A few of the signups have been displaced Boeing employees, she said.
More information on the programs and sign-up info is at www.nwirc.com/programs/projectreinvent
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