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Small Business Bootcamp Draws Crowd

April 2018

Lonne Vanderslice (left) and Kelly Wilson of Gotcha Covered presented a keynote on the dramatic rise of their unique business.

The Small Business Bootcamp at the Woodneath Library Branch drew nearly 200 entrepreneurs and small business owners March 30.

The event featured an outstanding keynote and breakout sessions on the skills and resources needed to build a business.

EDC Co-Director T.J. Berry said the EDC’s support is based on the simple fact that small businesses generate jobs. “The EDC wants to help you be more successful,” he said. “Start here. Grow here. Stay here!”

But growing a business is not easy, and event topics were designed to help bring success. Keynote speakers Kelly Sechrest Wilson and Lonne Vanderslice talked about their unique "social entrepreneurship" company, "Gotcha Covered!" They told their remarkable story of developing a profitable business that also provides jobs for women who have been homeless or at risk.

Adrienne Haynes, John Pajor and Kelly Head led the first round of breakout sessions, covering topics such as "bankability," dealing with local government and direct sales. Later sessions featured Finding the Right Mentor with presenters from SCORE; Home Based Business with Stephanie Zamora Schilling; and How to Talk Tech with Benjamin Rodriguez.

Also present were over a dozen resource presenters with information on everything from networking to mentoring.

Held twice each year, the Bootcamps are co-sponsored by the EDC and Mid-Continent Public Library’s Square One Small Business Services. The effort is funded by a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

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