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USU Extension Plays Role in 'EntrepreneurshipWeek USA'


Thursday, Mar. 01, 2007


March 1, 2007
Writer: Donna Falkenborg, 435-797-0810
Contact: Karen Biers 435-797-1534; Frank Prante 435-797-1780

USU EXTENSION PLAYS ROLE IN ‘ENTREPRENEURSHIPWEEK USA’
 

            LOGAN — Entrepreneurs, educators, community leaders and young people across the country will celebrate the power of entrepreneurship Feb. 24 to March 3 during “EntrepreneurshipWeek USA.”

            “Utah State University Extension and the Utah State University Small Business Development Center are organizations dedicated to recognizing, promoting and teaching entrepreneurship statewide,” said Noelle Cockett, USU’s vice president and dean for Extension and Agriculture.

            “Entrepreneurship Week recognizes the vital role that small business plays, both in our economy and in our democracy,” said Frank Prante, director, Utah State University small business development center. “Small business is a source of the majority of new jobs in the United States, new inventions of significance and provides economic opportunity and freedom to individuals. The profits and strength of small business are based on a competitive environment. This allows tremendous economic and political power for the individual. Small business is vital in keeping America strong and free.”

            An example in the city of Logan is Jan Miller, Prante said.

            Miller is president and owner of Standers, Inc., an inventor, manufacturer and distributor of innovative mobility solutions for the bed, bathroom, couch and car. The Logan Utah Small Business Development Center worked with Miller from 1997 through June 2006. It helped her create a business plan; determine pricing, margins and potential of new products. Miller become proficient in QuickBooks and finances, created a successful marketing campaign and brochures and learned about product patents and trademarks. Company Web sites were created as well (www.stander.com and www.mobilityhome.com).

            “Standers is a high growth company that has achieved sales increases of more than 40 percent per year since 1998, and the business is on track for 100 percent yearly growth in both 2006 and 2007,” Prante said.

            “Extension has helped entrepreneurs throughout the state start up and grow their small/micro businesses through classes and workshops,” said Karen Biers, Utah State University Extension entrepreneurship and home based business specialist. “The first contact for many aspiring entrepreneurs is their local county Extension office where they can get help evaluating a business idea and developing a business plan. Extension can help potential business owners assess how best to use technology in their business.”

            Biers said Morgan Valley Lamb in Millard County is an example.

            Jamie Gillmor’s ranching family raised sheep for several generations. He and his wife, Linda, didn’t want to accept the unpredictable highs and lows in lamb prices in the traditional approach to marketing through lamb buyers. They decided to market the high-end, “natural” lamb they were already producing without antibiotics, growth hormones or feed containing animal by-products. The lamb is now in local restaurants, farmers’ markets and some grocery stores.

            “Our goal is the best quality lamb, but also to use our resources wisely with sustainable agricultural practices that promote water quality and diversity in wildlife,” Linda said. “Extension helped Jamie over the years with veterinary problems with the sheep. But in starting a marketing business, we realized we needed a Web page to help us advertise and eventually sell our lamb.”

            Linda has participated in several e-commerce training workshops sponsored by Extension. The Morgan Valley Lamb Web page (www.morganvalleylamb.com) has been a crucial part of the Gillmor’s marketing strategy.

            In Salt Lake County, 4-Her Kelsie Swindells, an innovative young entrepreneur, started her business venture at the age of 8 with a newspaper recycling business in her neighborhood, said Donna Carter, Salt Lake County 4-H Extension agent.

            “After curbside recycling came to the neighborhood, she created Kelsie’s Creations, a business she has run for the last 3 1/2 years,” Carter said. “She focuses on a boutique niche to market her products, one of which is a gourmet pancake mix, Pancakes with Personality. A branch of her specialty bookmark business includes ‘Think Pink’ bookmarks, with proceeds of $600 being donated in her late grandmother’s name to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”

            This year Swindells added Peanut Un-Brittle, a softer form of peanut brittle candy to her business endeavors.

            “Kelsie obtained the proper food handling permits, certified kitchen, business and tax licenses and keeps her own accounting records,” said her mother, Julie.

            In Northern Utah, Hat Ranch is owned and operated by G.R. and Lana Peart of Randolph.

            “They are a third generation ranching family and were looking for a way to increase revenue to help keep the ranch family-owned,” said Darrell Rothlisberger, Rich County Extension agent. “Extension introduced them to Artificial Insemination and helped with bull selection. They invested in crossbred cows to add value to their program. They wanted to capture some of the show cattle market and the additional revenue that can come with that. To do this, they developed a Web site with Extension’s help, and now can expand their potential market and customer base through the Internet.”

            Their Web site is http://hatranchshowcattle.com.

            In Utah County, Julie Clifford has created two businesses with the help of Utah County Extension. On three and a half acres in Provo, she grows flowers for her dry flower arrangement business, The Glass House, and produces organic eggs, organic produce and honey and beeswax for her Clifford Farms business. She took Extension’s Master Gardener courses to improve her gardening skills, and with advice from Adrian Hinton, Utah County Extension horticulturist, started raising bees. She now sells honey and uses the beeswax to make hand cream, lotion, lip gloss and soap. Trish Cutler, Utah County Extension secretary and Hinton helped her write a grant application to establish the organic produce business.

            “EntrepreneurshipWeek USA” features thousands of activities, celebrations and events planned by partner organizations around the country honoring and encouraging entrepreneurs. For more information see www.EntrepreneurshipWeekUSA.com.

            For more information about Utah State University Extension, or to find a county Extension office near you, visit www.extension.usu.edu.



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