Start Up! Bonner County
Local entrepreneur program aims to improve economy
June 17, 2011

Bonner County Economic Development Corporation (BCEDC) today announced the launch of Start Up! Bonner County, a new community-driven entrepreneurial development program.

“Economic Development has traditionally focused on relocating businesses into your area,” said Michael Whitley, Chairman of BCEDC.  “But we have found that our most successful companies were started right here and grew here.  Start Up! Bonner County will shorten the time it takes to launch and grow more local companies,” he added.

The program is designed to pair developing entrepreneurs with successful business people who have volunteered to help with coaching and business planning.  This coaching is offered at no charge to the entrepreneur.

“The only charge to the entrepreneur will be time and dedication to see their business plan develop,” said Karl Dye, BCEDC Executive Director.  “Their dedication can lead to successful businesses, but it has to be their initiative.  We’re not doing the work for them, just providing support and direction,” he added.

A core group of BCEDC directors and supporters has been working on identifying the process. Team members include Gretchen Hellar, Mayor of Sandpoint, Eric Paull of Washington Trust Bank and Pat Rossi of U.S. Bank.

“We are striving to build a local, place-based entrepreneurial development process that is similar to those in other parts of the country,” added Pat Rossi, International Director for U.S. Bank’s Commercial Banking Group.  “Other groups use this process and focus on technology companies that can patent their ideas.  Our goal is to offer it to any potential company in any industry, at any stage of start up or growth, as long as they are going to start in Bonner County,” Rossi added.

If you are interested in volunteering or to coach, you can contact the BCEDC through this website.  Entrepreneurs interested in the program for coaching, or to pitch a concept for a business you have always wanted to start, you can submit an application here.