Submitted by SCORE
Starting up a business in the islands can be a challenge. The crazy seasonal economy, limited local market, regulatory requirements and workforce housing challenges all need to be navigated to build a sustainable business. Help to build a business is now available.
Since January 2018, San Juan Island resident Chris Reed has been providing free business mentoring services to over 20 island entrepreneurs and nonprofits on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez as the San Juan County outpost of the SCORE organization. SCORE is a national nonprofit that receives support from the U.S. Small Business Administration and other donors to help small and emerging businesses with free mentoring and educational services to support their success. SCORE has over 10,000 experienced business mentors across the country – often successful entrepreneurs themselves – offering their time to their community.
“As an Orcas Island business owner, having Chris as a SCORE mentor gives me the confidence I need to continue the growth of my company through every aspect of this unique market,” said Drew Downing of the Matia dining collective. “Chris has always been a valued resource providing an astounding depth and width of knowledge in a timely, honest and supportive way.”
The mentoring services provided are those requested by the local business owner and might include advice and support on what kind of business structure to register, how to write a business plan, options for financing, understanding one’s financial statements and how to market to either island residents or visitors. Often entrepreneurs value an independent perspective on their business ideas and help in making connections to key local resources. If a local business is looking for a specialized type of expertise, they can be connected with any of 200 other mentors in the Puget Sound area.
Mara Lawrence, co-owner of Mama Bird Farm, said this is a great avenue for business mentorship in the San Juans.
“His business mind has propelled my project in the right direction. He is professional and works hard to help you with your business, to see it to its fullest potential,” she said.
Reed’s personal background is as a serial entrepreneur, having served as an early management team member or president of six startups, as well as on the senior management team of a Fortune 100 company.