By Meg Upton
Over the course of the past several months, Indian Valley Innovation Hub group has been meeting with potential business owners and already operating businesses in Indian Valley to see whether those businesses fit their criteria for support. Now they’ve entered a segment of their support called “Entrepreneur Rallies” for business networking and building economic development momentum.
The IV Innovation Hub is looking for ‘entrepreneurs’ of all sorts and at any stage of their development. It is part of the plan to make the new Greenville economically viable. Non-business owners, (much of the Hub board is made up of non-business owners) who are interested in helping boost and address economic concerns in the valley are also welcome. The IVIH reaches beyond Greenville to all Dixie Fire burn scarred areas where communities were impacted by fire.
Essentially these are free networking events to start conversations about economic development and places where business owners might find support.
The first one took place at Gigi’s Market on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, with locals gathered around the fireplace for a two hour conversation. One of the ideas coming out of this discussion was the need for a commercial kitchen to process much of what is grown by small farmers and artisans in Indian Valley, or a box truck to deliver produce from Indian Valley to market in Chico. Having a distribution center and a community compost bin were also dicussed.
The next one is this Saturday, Dec.3 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Mt. Huff Café with charcuterie snacks provided. The last one of the year will be at The Spot on Saturday, Dec. 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. with soup and appetizers provided by Mary’s German Grill and drinks from the Way Baby. If the weather turns colder, they will meet up at Plumas Bank.
Also on Saturday, Dec. 3, is a business development workshop with Clint Koble, who will speak to “Learning the Lending Business” and Ken Donnell, who will talk about “bootstrapping a business.” This will be at Plumas Bank in Greenville from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
The rallies and workshops are free, with more planned in 2023. For more information about the rallies or Indian Valley Innovation Hub call or text (907) 242-4426 or email [email protected].
IVIH supports the development of business owners and their products. Services include: Connecting early stage entrepreneurs with experienced business mentors for guidance, connections, and fresh inspiration; referring clients to experts for professional consulting about their products; providing tools and equipment; providing support with marketing; Providing assistance with financing; looking for grants for businesses; providing support with branding for products; and providing support with distribution.
No public information has been given by the IVIH about their clients, (they told each product developer that they would remain confidential until their products are released) in what appears to be an attempt to curtail others developing similar products simultaneously.
Lara Wheeler, who manages IVIH indicated they do plan on releasing information once business owners are up and running and have consented to their stories being shared. She did share that an IVIH project adviser helped an up-and-coming business owner applied for and received a $10,000 grant to help their business recently.
“I referred several people to a grant administrator for economic development in our area and four or five people received between $5000 and $6500 to help get their start-up off the ground,” said Wheeler. She also indicated that there isn’t a guarantee of grant funding and that it appears to be a case by case basis.
She also indicated that some business owners who already have developed products, will be helped by IVIH in distribution and export from the county.
IVIH is currently working on a made in Plumas County logo.
This group was begun by John Steffanic at the Plumas Sierra County Fairgrounds post Dixie Fire.