A group of eight business owners and entrepreneurs from the Corry area recently celebrated their successful completion of a Small Business Jump Start program, which is put on by Gary Svetz of Svetz Consulting Services each year at Corry Higher Education Council.
This year’s cohort consisted of Matt and Tami Green, Tim Buell, Valerie Ruhlman, Robyn LaSalvia, Heather Waild, Kimberly Tuszynski and Sean Barton. Svetz, who puts on several of these programs around the region, serves as the program facilitator and instructor.
Svetz said the group learns to hone marketing and accounting skills while networking with other professionals in the area. He estimates over 40 participants in four years have come through the Corry program since it started.
“As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, but a whole community to start a business with support at the very beginning,” Svetz said, noting the resources and networking opportunities provided through the nine-week course are invaluable for both existing and startup businesses.
Alumni from the program often come and share what they got out of it and where they are now. This year’s speakers included Donnie Rosie of Rosie Marketing and Brad Allen of Rossbacher Insurance Group.
Besides meeting weekly and hearing from alumni, participants also develop a business plan and can receive continued coaching after the program at no cost.
“I like to see small businesses in rural areas thrive,” Svetz said. “It’s a passion of mine.”
Tami Green said what she and her husband Matt learned will help with marketing and to present a business plan to the bank in order to secure funding for an expansion. The Greens run George Fox Insurance in Union City.
Ruhlman said she has learned to take her small business more seriously.
“I have goals I would like to meet, and I set expectations for myself in order to reach those goals,” she said, adding that the class discussions were helpful, and she enjoyed learning more about business plans and finances.
Ruhlman owns Val’s Home Decor and Wood Earrings in Corry.
For LaSalvia, who owns and operates Riverside Structures with her husband Steve, it was setting aside the time each week to focus on her business that made the difference, as well as connecting with other small business owners.
Buell, who is helping his family to manage Wild Child Inspired Apparel in Corry, said he would highly recommend the program to other professionals.
“There is a lot of information and resources many new business owners may not be aware of,” he said.
“You learn something in every class,” Ruhlman said. “There is a lot to cover, and a lot you may forget to think about without this class. I hope it continues here in Corry.”
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