North Platte, NE – 2/19/09 - As America prepares to celebrate National Entrepreneurship Week from Feb. 21-28, the Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise in North Platte, NE, is celebrating its own success in helping area business owners and entrepreneurs reach their full potential.
One offering that has proven to be exceedingly beneficial to area business owners/entrepreneurs is “ADVANCE (Alliance for Developing Vision and Nurturing Capable Entrepreneurs) Business” a 10-week training course that delves into various marketing, financial and legal themes.
Lee and Sandy Kolb, owners of Ascension Plumbing in North Platte, took the entrepreneurship training several months ago. They say the course has already had a remarkable impact on their business.
“We are true entrepreneurs,” Lee Kolb said. “We started out with nothing but a bucket of tools and a dream.”
Kolb said he does the trade work for the business and Sandy manages the office. Both agree that the entrepreneurship training helped their business in a variety of ways.
“The class itself was fantastic,” Kolb said. “It was user friendly and the instructors did an excellent job. We were very impressed by Kert and Lorre McKeone and the business owners they brought in.”
According to Melissa Garcia, Area Program Manager, Lorre McKeone was the instructor for the ADVANCE course and Kert McKeone, who is president of Equitable Bank in North Platte, assisted participants as a business coach. Area entrepreneurs and subject experts helped round out the training sessions by sharing their experiences as guest speakers.
Kolb said the training helped him to become more financially disciplined and he got some good tips for controlling inventory. He also said that the business plan they developed at the beginning of the training provided immense value for their own business.
“It would have cost $2,000 to $3,000 to have it done professionally, but it only cost us what we paid for the class and the time we invested,” he said.
“One of the byproducts of the class was that we got a major customer just by networking with others who were taking the class with us,” Kolb added. “That ended up being very significant for our business.”
Kolb said they try to take some type of class or seminar every three months or so to build on their business knowledge. He said they would like to take the entrepreneurship training again in about a year and a half when they expect to expand.
“I just believe in this class so much,” Kolb said. “It really helped us in a lot of ways.”
Kolb noted that although they attended the training in North Platte, it was also teleconferenced in Mullen, so they made business connections there as well.
Julie Hesseltine, owner of Sandhills Smiles Photography in Thedford, said she learned many things about owning a business that she hadn’t even thought of before when she took the entrepreneurship training.
“It was an eye-opening experience for me. There were things I learned about that I didn’t even know I needed to know!” she laughed. “I had never taken any business classes before and, although I knew some about it, there were many aspects of owning a business that I wasn’t even aware of.”
Hesseltine said that since she has been putting what she learned into practice, she has noticed a slow, but steady, increase in her business.
“The class was awesome,” she said. “It really helped me become more aware of everything that’s involved in owning a business.”
The Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise will have an Open House at their ADVANCE Business Class from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 26, in room 141 at the South Campus of North Platte Community College. The open house is free and open to the public.
For more information about the Mid-Plains Center for Enterprise’s entrepreneurship or other offerings, contact Melissa Garcia at (308) 535-3682 or (800) 658-4308, ext. 3682.