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Business dreams grow from weekend experience

Business dreams grow from weekend experience

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VALLEJO — People came from around the area to polish their dreams of becoming their own business owner to perfection with the help of a 48 crash course over the weekend.

Dan Ryken from Benicia has been a sales consultant, writer and voice coach, and planned a digital voice-over narration consultancy during the 48 Hackathon business launch competition presented by Solano County Small Business Development Center. He believes in this dream so much he missed his 11th wedding anniversary to attend.

“This is a realization of a dream, and my wife said ‘go do it,’” Ryken said.

He won the two-day competition with the supportive feedback of the attendees who help each other to improve marketing ideas, tightening and expanding as needed for the perfect sales pitch on Sunday.

“This is the start of something, I’m not sure where its going but its a beginning,” he said.

He had elements of a business plan but nothing locked down when he came on Friday but by the end he was comfortable with the changes that were made from his original ideas and feeling confident going forward.

It was a short trip for Fred Toh, who came from Vallejo to the Solano Community College campus Vallejo branch for the event. He has a big plans for creating a mid-century style home that is affordable and beautiful out of shipping containers.

“I’m shy,” he said. “This opened up a new world for my project and I’m really excited to go forward.”

He is hoping to create recycled, green homes that have sustainable construction.

Speakers included William K. Wesley, a nationally renowned corporate business coach and trainer; Dr. Lynne Vaughn, founder of the award-winning MIT Academy; Patricia Hudnall, a business management consultant; Rolanda Wilson, a financial consultant; branding strategist Citlalli Flores Zepeda; and local business-owners/entrepreneurs Marisella Barbosa, Tim Hiemstra and Mark Hagan. Tech business consultant and marketing expert Michael P. Connelly will facilitate the conference; K. Patrice Williams, the event’s organizer, outreach coordinator and entrepreneur will lead a session on legal concerns for businesses.

“This is something to build from,” said Connelly. “Everybody got an opportunity, it was like an idea spa.”

Kelly Penwell, Associate Dean Workforce Development for Solano Community College, was one of the organizers that helped bring the weekend together. She saw the tremendous amount of drive that people have to create their own businesses but they don’t have the advanced degrees to accompany that drive, making them feel uncomfortable about pursuing their business ideas. She hopes that the workshop helps them succeed with their dreams.

“The thing is your measure in success is in others successes,” she said.

The course originally was created for 30 people but 50 signed up. Not everybody was fully comfortable staying at the college and working on a business plan for two days, so the group ended up with about 13 hearty souls.

“Some came with ideas and a few people had launched their company,” she said. “But not all the parameters were ready with things like permits,” Penwell said.

For many people, it was tremendously encouraging and helped them make connections in areas that they weren’t necessarily thinking about.

“This is where the ideas happen,” Penwell said.

She plans to have monthly meetings to further the momentum of the weekend and next weekend will be hosting a “Hack-o-thon” Business Workshop for college and high school students for another 48 hour event at the Solano Community College’s Vallejo campus at 545 Columbus Parkway in the Bill Thurston building, starting at 4:30 pm on Friday and ending at 4:30 pm on Sunday.

Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or [email protected]


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