Sierra Commons launches fundraising campaign in May to support local entrepreneurs

May is Small Business Month, which can inspire people to start new businesses.

For a decade, a series of corporate boot camps called the Business Ignitor Course has helped create hundreds of jobs in Nevada County through foundational courses, accountability meetings and mentorship. The course, designed by the non-profit group Sierra Commons, is a “guide” to success for many new entrepreneurs.

This month, the community is invited to give back and show their financial support for this programming by donating to the Wayfinder campaign to keep micro-businesses and the local economy thriving. The goal is to raise enough funds to help launch 10 new businesses. For every $500 raised, a business will receive the support it needs to thrive.



Since last week, over $1,500 has been raised during the campaign. Additionally, Waste Management donated $500, and an additional $500 was donated by an anonymous donor.

“As donations pour in, we’re pumped up,” said Robert Trent, executive director of Sierra Commons. “The donations we receive today are very important. We know that Nevada County will depend even more on our services in the coming years. Local entrepreneurs need to be nimble and adapt quickly.



People can choose different donation levels, such as $500 Adventurer, $250 Trailfinder, or $100 River Guide. For many, the area’s natural beauty is intertwined with the quality of life found there and makes Nevada County a destination to work and live.

There are currently 16 adventurous students taking the Sierra Commons Business Ignitor course. Some start new businesses. Others are looking to grow.

Other recent graduates have successfully launched their businesses. Travis Duckworth, director of the Sol Learning Institute, teaches young people sustainable life skills. Young people build tiny houses, chicken coops and greenhouses and help make a positive difference in the world.

“The Ignitor course really prepared me to handle the back end of things, the business side of things, from managing finances to marketing,” Duckworth said. ⁠

SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES

For more than 10 years, Sierra Commons’ Business Ignitor program has helped people grow their ideas from simple concepts into full-fledged, established businesses.

Some well-known businesses launched after enrolling in the program include Fable Coffee, Three Forks Bakery and Brewing Company, InnTown Campground, and Elixart. The program with a strong foundation in local job creation has footholds in many different industries, from technology to health and wellness, food and sustainable living.

Amanda Daley, owner/roaster of Fable Coffee, recently opened a second Nevada City location on Broad Street in addition to her Grass Valley storefront next to the Del Oro Theater. She said the business skills she learned at Sierra Commons gave her the confidence to branch out.

“I took the Business Ignitor course at Sierra Commons, and it really inspired me to go ahead and do a second pitch,” Daley said.

Sierra Commons offers personalized marketing, technology, and accounting consulting and provides affordable infrastructure such as co-working space, virtual meeting space, and on-demand high-speed Internet access.

In Nevada City’s shared space at 792 A Searls Ave., attendees open the door to connections with other business owners and economic development organizations in Nevada County and the greater Sierra Nevada. Each month, the public is invited to a free luncheon and learning series sponsored by the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and the Sierra Small Business Development Center.

“As we emerge from the global pandemic, Nevada County is reimagining our relationship with work. Sierra Commons is ready to support local entrepreneurs so they can thrive in this new economic landscape,” said Robert Trent.

No participant has ever been turned away from programs due to financial need. Sliding-scale tuition and scholarships are available due to continued community support.

Learn more about http://www.sierracommons.org.

Founded in 2009, Sierra Commons is the premier coworking space in Sierra Nevada and the only 501c3 nonprofit coworking center in Nevada County.

Source: Sierra Commons

Spring 2022 Business Ignitor course students.
Shelby Cohen Photography