Wauna Credit Union Supports Business Plan Competition for Local Entrepreneurs

Ten aspiring Clatsop County entrepreneurs recently completed a start-up bootcamp produced and hosted by the Clatsop Community College Small Business Development Center (SBDC), culminating in a rapid-fire, business plan pitch competition in hopes of securing the top prize — a grant of $1000 provided by Wauna Credit Union. The bootcamp consisted of four educational sessions to guide the business plan development and each entrepreneur was paired with a professional business advisor to help complete the plan.

Wauna Credit Union provided both the prize money as well as financial support to the Clatsop SBDC to produce this program.

“Local businesses are the backbone of our communities and truly define the meaning and the strengths of who we are and what we do,” said Robert Blumberg, CEO and President of Wauna. “The credit union is honored to be able to better support the education and awareness so that these businesses may continue to have the opportunities to thrive.”

Nina Whiddon, a technical writer and small-business owner, and her husband James Whiddon, a pastry chef of 25 years, secured the $1,000 prize to be used toward start-up costs for a new donut shop.

“Right now, the area only has one donut shop between Astoria and Seaside, and a lot of people love donuts,” said James. “That’s something we can bring more of to the North Coast — we have a vision to provide hot, fresh, scratch-made donuts for locals, with early hours for commuters and convenient curbside pick-up. We’ve learned a lot from the SBDC workshop, but most importantly it gave us more confidence to keep going with our dream.”

Other course participants presented plans for a diverse array of businesses, from new food products and retail businesses to e-commerce applications and commercial real estate development. Each presenting business was awarded a $200 grant toward their start-up costs, provided by Clatsop Economic Development Resources (CEDR) and the Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District (Col-Pac). The business plan review panel included Clatsop SBDC Director Kevin Leahy, Associate Director Jessica Newhall, Program Development Specialist Meyer Freeman, and Sarah Lu Heath of Col-Pac.

Sarah Lu Heath, Programs Manager at Col-Pac added her compliments to the course participants.

“As we recover from the economic disruption of the pandemic, it’s thrilling to see the strong entrepreneurial spirit in Clatsop County. These business people are working hard towards bright futures for their personal endeavors and their communities. We can’t wait to be their customers!”

The Small Business Development Center at Clatsop Community College provides services designed to help business owners and operators in all stages of business, from start-ups in their first year, to mature businesses looking to grow. Services include free and confidential business advising, monthly workshops and seminars, and the Small Business Management Program.

Posted in Member News.