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Business leaders from the 15 companies in the first cohort of ScaleUp Thurston gathered for the first time on Thursday, January 7, 2016 to meet and begin their 14-week journey together. Rachel Young of Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes was all smiles as she explained that in less than 2 years she has now opened 3 stores and employs about 15 people. “It’s crazy!” she told Casey Sobel of Top Rung Brewing who was sitting next to her. “I need to manage that growth!” Her sentiment was shared by all in the group, including Ana Seidel of Bliss Kiss, who explained to the group that “we’re now selling our nail care products on Amazon, and it’s just exploding, and we can’t do it all by ourselves anymore.”
ScaleUp Thurston, a program of the Thurston EDC’s Center for Business & Innovation, is all about managing that growth in emerging companies. It’s about figuring out what you don’t know, and learning how to grow effectively. The business leaders expressed a desire to improve their management skills, accelerate growth, and build the internal systems necessary to succeed.
The companies in the first cohort represent a broad range of products from raw juice drinks (Zoe Juice Bar) to fine dining (Ricardo’s) to industrial uniforms (Ideal Commercial Uniforms), as well as a broad range of services from electrical contracting (Thurston Electric) to integrated pest management (PCI Pest Control) to enterprise software (Gardiant LLC).
Instructor Daryl Murrow introduced the curriculum by the Kauffman Foundation, “FastTrac GrowthVenture”, which the companies will learn in 10 modules. Each participant received a printed book in a custom folio to carry future class notes.
The cohort was also welcomed by a number of community members including several SCORE mentors from the Center for Business & Innovation, a contingent of commercial lenders from TwinStar Credit Union, marketing and sales consultant Steve Pottle, and community development consultant George Sharp.
The Center for Business & Innovation is now accepting inquiries about joining the second ScaleUp Thurston cohort.