Charles Richardson, CEO and Founder of Cee-MARR Technology, was very clear on the benefit he and his company have already derived from the Access Accelerator. “The Small Business Development Centre offers you an opportunity to set structure to your business. It is nurturing.”
Charles talked about why he saw the Small Business Development Centre as an important entity: “You have advisors to guide you along the way which is needed for everybody…The structure is what I needed and the SBDC provided a lot more clarity.”
Charles’ company Cee-MARR Technology is one of the first companies to move through the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre process from beginning to the funding stage.
Access Accelerator client Valarie Wilson is in apparel manufacturing, and while she was already in business, she chose to enroll as a start-up to give herself the opportunity to learn more about entrepreneurship. Valarie looked to the Small Business Development Centre to help her with the development of her ideas, and to help her “tap into some expertise” as well as funding.
And now? Valarie is excited by the progress she and her advisor are making on financial projections for her business plan.
“The feedback from my advisor is invaluable,” she says.
Angella Stuart, a beverage manufacturing industry start-up, was excited about the Access Accelerator Small Business Development Centre from her first encounter. Angella explained why she was so eager to recommend the Small Business Centre: “Hands down I would. I have a better insight of the way forward because of the lecturers and knowledge that was given…I haven’t arrived, but I’m on my way.”
She said, “Go ahead. You cannot lose with information, especially if you are growing your business. If you want your business to grow, you will need information. I cannot look at things the same way I did before I started with the Small Business Development Centre because of the insight.”
Angella said she chose the Small Business Development Centre over anything else she could have done with her time because of one powerful motivator: desperation.
“My desperation to start, to succeed, because I needed something that could cater to my small business that will give me the foundational information or primary ingredients of starting up.”
Access Accelerator client Jennawade Pratt is a photography industry start-up and, through market research and personal experience, she has identified a niche that she can exploit. She says her problem before becoming an Access Accelerator client was finding out if her business was marketable and if she was planning correctly. Now, after working with her advisor, Jennawade has a clear idea of her place in the market, with clear goals on which to focus her efforts.
“I love the fact that there are small classes and the teachers are well-versed in many areas,” she said, discussing the benefits of the programme.
“Listen to me; I have been singing the praises of this development centre to at least 20 people. [I have told them,] Go to the Small Business Development Centre and get the information! It is not only an opportunity for them to connect you to investors, but there are also things as entrepreneurs that we don’t even know.”
Jennawade says the Access Accelerator experience has “made me want to jump, go all in, and do this! It has motivated and empowered me.”
“I understand it is a lot of hard work and I’m at the point where I don’t care so I’m getting it done. They are giving you solid-grounded advice. With people like that behind you, you feel that you can do anything.”
And she had a lot to say about what has made her the happiest about joining the Access Accelerator family of clients.
“The connection with the mentors. The ability to network with the people who you are working with has been amazing. The openness of the facilitators. The awesomeness of the mentors when you get stuck. When you have those moments when you can’t do it, just having that support is good. You have mentors who have your back.”
“The environment is so conducive,” she continued. “It is everything I needed. I’m telling people everywhere I go.”