Incubator Speaker Series-3Building the next generation’s business skills: Skyline College entrepreneur program offers training for students

The Bay Area Entrepreneur Center of Skyline College launched a business incubator program in early 2014 to offer classes, training, instruction, mentoring and other valuable information to help small companies grow.Aspiring entrepreneurs enrolled at Skyline College can lean on a new program designed to build their business development skills and fuel their burgeoning company on the way to success.

As a portion of its offerings, the center is also hosting a speaker series placing successful business owners in front of students, who can absorb the knowledge and pepper pros with questions regarding their recipe for success.

Such an opportunity Thursday, Dec. 1, brought Eddie Lin, founder and CEO of marketing company NexusEdge, before the students and program participants to share his strategies for building a brand.

“I want to be able to help students or anyone in the space that I was in before who are encountering the same struggles I had previously,” he said.

Lin’s speech is the second in a series of three speakers who visited the center over the past month. Global trade expert Raja Ben spoke roughly two weeks ago and intellectual property attorney Heather Bennett is scheduled to appear Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Terri Wade, a business and marketing consultant for the center, said she believes granting access to the wisdom of accomplished business people alongside the variety of other resources available helps many hopeful entrepreneurs see a path to achievement more clearly.

“The speakers are there to offer their expertise and open up eyes to different possibilities out there and learning from those who have been there and done that,” she said.

Ultimately, Wade said a goal of the center and its programs is to encourage young business owners to constantly push the boundaries of what they believe is possible to accomplish.

“Many are thinking small and local, but we want them to think larger,” she said. “So we are able to nurture the entrepreneur to take their business to the next level.”

There are only a handful of participants currently enrolled in the incubator program, said Wade, spanning from those who want to launch a secure wireless network company to another attempting to build a marketing firm.

Those enrolled can access the variety of services available at the center, located in downtown San Bruno at 458 San Mateo Ave., such as conference rooms, co-working spaces, workshops, seminars and an opportunity to access the network of venture capitalists, local businesses and professionals who may be able to offer mentoring or stewardship.

The center has established partnerships with the San Bruno Chamber of Commerce, along with small business associations in San Francisco and San Mateo counties for a portion of the advising services.

Incubator members also stand to access business development money available from the program’s board of directors, said Wade, though the investment fund has yet to be launched.

The resources are only available to students who go through an application process and pay a fee to enroll, which Wade said is an effective mechanism to assure those who participate are committed to their endeavor.

Members are asked to spend between $150 per month for a virtual membership which grants access to programs but no office space to $450 monthly for unlimited access to resources along with two consulting appointments.

Wade said the program was borne from a desire among many students at Skyline College to build their talents for growing a small business into a viable and successful company and interest for the services has jumped since the incubator recently launched.

“It has encouraged a lot of Skyline students,” she said.

Skyline College President Regina Stanback-Stroud offered a similar perspective in a prepared statement.

“The Bay Area Entrepreneur Center will be a business catalyst to seed and develop entrepreneurship in our region. Leading creative economic development partnerships such as this are exactly what the college is designed and committed to do,” she said. “It is just another way for the college to invest in the community and identify and engage the businesses and workforce of tomorrow.”

For his part, Lin said he is hopeful his message resonates by encouraging students to overcome the potential fears associated with taking the risks which may initially seem intimidating but stand to benefit a company’s growth.

“Most people are too scared to talk to strangers, but that is when the most interesting things happen,” she said.

This article was originally published in the Daily Journal on December 05, 2016, by Austin Walsh

Article: Austin Walsh, The Daily Journal | Photo: Terri Wade