Happy Entrepreneurship Month – Give Thanks!

Did you know that November is National Entrepreneurship Month? In celebration and recognition of entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country, President Barack Obama proclaimed November National Entrepreneurship Month.

This is a wonderful thing! It is important to recognize small businesses and their impact in our communities. Small business owners deserve our attention and our thanks because we all benefit from their passion, dedication, innovation and hard work.

I am thankful to all the small business owners that I teach and work with every day, and for the small businesses that improve life in my neighborhood. I am also thankful to the organizations and small business support professionals who make it possible for entrepreneurs to launch and to succeed.

Last month Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center gave awards to three remarkable women whom I had the pleasure to teach in Renaissance’s Business Planning Class. This video, which highlights their stories, illustrates why it is so important that we support the small businesses and small business owners around us.

Take a look, and be sure to thank the entrepreneurs in your life. They need and deserve our support and encouragement… not just this month but all year long!

Happy Thanksgiving.

In the news

PTA students and clients have been receiving great press over the past few months and we want to share some of their news…

This summer SF Chronicle included an interview with Andrea Kenner, owner of the Sebastopol boutique, Tamarind. Andrea took the first 14-week Business Planning Class offered at Renaissance Marin in the Fall of 2012. The article also plugged another Renaissance (SF) Business Planning Class graduate, Ali Golden, “Oakland’s It designer”.

bay area small business

Rusty Olson, Renaissance Business Planning Class graduate from Spring 2013, opened Rusty’s Southern in the Tenderloin this Spring and has received nice press from Inside Scoop SF and the San Francisco Chronicle about his delicious Carolina-style BBQ.

bay area small business

In August I opened the paper and saw the smiling face of Beth Vecchiarelli, BP Class graduate from Fall 2014 and owner of Preserved in Oakland. Beth teaches classes on traditional methods of food preservation and her store carries D.I.Y. supplies for everything from cheesemaking and fermenting to pickling and dehydrating.

bay area small business

Blake Joffe, BP Class grad from Winter 2011 and co-owner of Beauty’s Bagel Shop was mentioned in a New York Times article, “Why Is It So Hard to Get a Great Bagel in California?“. His co-owner and wife, Amy Remsen, was a featured guest on an early August episode of KQED’s Forum with Michael Krasney about the same topic. Also this year, Thrillist named Beauty’s Bagel one of the 12 most important restaurants in Oakland, and Blake and Amy were featured in the recipe section of the SF Chronicle.

bay area small business

This year PTA client and Renaissance graduate LauraLe Wunsch has been receiving some great press for her unique product business, Oxgut Hose Company, which creates beautiful hand-crafted products with recycled fire hose salvaged from US fire departments. The Culture Trip labeled LauraLe one of 10 contemporary designers in San Francisco you should know about, there was a nice article this month in Country Living Magazine, and the final issue of Anthology Magazine (issue 21, Fall 2015) includes a feature on the business.

bay area small business

The SF Chronicle Island Style Section in mid October include a nice feature on jeweler Luana Coonen, BP Class grad from Summer 2014, and the impact of nature in her jewelry.

bay area small business

The Dogwatch neighborhood in San Francisco has a new design destination – Industrious Life, co-founded by Renaissance BP Class grad from Winter 2012 – Patti Quill. Patti and her co-owner Patti Davidson opened the shop this year and were recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle.

bay area small business

In October, PTA client The Good Life Grocery was honored with the San Francisco Examiner’s Reader’s Choice Award for the Best Grocery Stores! bay area small business

And last but not least, we are thrilled that PTA client Bay Area Medical Academy, founded by Simonida Cvejic, was one of just 20 Mission Main Street Grant recipients for 2015, chosen from applicants around the country to receive a $100,000 award from Chase! Congratulations!

bay area small business

Small Business Week!

small business week

Don’t miss it! Small Business Week begins and ends with Sidewalk Sales in 20 neighborhoods throughout the city, Saturday, May 16th and Saturday, May 23rd.

The kick-off event on Monday night, May 18th is not to be missed (tickets mandatory, but only $20). Flavors of San Francisco is a great opportunity to network with small business owners and small business resource organizations and eat delicious food from San Francisco restaurants. (Other mixers are taking place throughout the week, too.)

Friday, May 22nd will be the heart of it all — the Small Business Conference includes over 50 workshops jam-packed with info on a variety of topics relevant to small business. (Workshops are FREE but space is limited.)

Please participate!  Small Business Week is a great opportunity to network, gather good information and celebrate the small business community in San Francisco!

I’m proud to see Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center graduates featured on the Small Business Week website: Pinkie’s Bakery, Frisco Fried, Socola Chocolatier and Van Meter Williams Pollack.

small business week


There are many small businesses that launch every month in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Each launch is proceeded by months (if not years) of hard work, detailed market research and fundraising before the new business owner can “open the doors”. A number of our business planning students at Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center launched their businesses in 2014.  Show your support by visiting them and spreading the word!


Sean Patrick and his business partner opened a new burger and fries place in San Francisco’s West Portal neighborhood featuring burgers, fries and milkshakes made from 100% organic ingredients sourced primarily from California. (They even have a veggie burger for me!) Check out their recent San Francisco Chronicle review.

Pinhole Coffee

JoEllen Depakakibo just opened a new coffee shop on Cortland Street in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood. The curated space features a variety of coffee roasters and other locally made goodies. Check out this recent profile of JoEllen and her new business.

Kinda Fancy

Lindsey Hoell and her brother and sister have launched a line of surf bikinis! They are made in America of strong, stretchy material …and include zippered pockets. Check out their fun website and online store.

The Good Hop Bottle Shop

Melissa Myers opened her bottle shop and tasting room on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, offering hundreds of craft beers from around the world, with mostly local beers on tap. You can enjoy your brew on site or take away, and attend their classes and monthly events.

Hoi Polloi Brewpub and Beat Lounge


Viet Vu opened his brewpub with his brother and wife on Alcatraz Avenue in Berkeley. The pub features a variety of beers, including their own creations, and all beer comes with popcorn drizzled with truffle-oil. Check out this recent San Francisco Chronicle review.



Courtney Cummins has launched Rilla, an online style boutique featuring select clothing, accessories and textiles from independent designers, as well as highly curated vintage pieces.

Communitē Table

Michele LeProhn opened the doors to her neighborhood restaurant in Oakland’s Laurel district this December — seasonal American comfort food to eat there or to take home. Check out this recent article about Communitē Table in the East Bay Express.

The ReCrafting Co.


Andrine Smith opened The ReCrafting Co. as a crafter’s resource for quality recycled crafting materials, supplies and tools. The shop also offers crafters a convenient opportunity to recycle their surplus crafting material and supplies on consignment for cash.

Liquid Gold


Tim Lee’s bottle shop and tap room opened in lower Nob Hill the Fall of 2014. The  focus is on locally sourced beers and wines.  In November, Liquid Gold made Zagat’s list of the 12 hottest new bars in the United States!

Urban Putt


Steve Fox and his team have created Urban Putt, the City’s first and only indoor miniature golf course in San Francisco’s Mission district. It is a playground for people of all ages with organic and locally-sourced food and drink. Thrillist calls Urban Putt “quite possibly the best thing to happen to the Mission.”

Food Businesses In the News

PTA clients and students with food (and drink) businesses have been in the press over the past month and we want to share their good news…

Gail Lillian’s popular food truck business Liba Falafel expanded to a brick and mortar location in Oakland this year. The San Francisco Chronicle recently featured a great review of the business.

food businesses

Renaissance graduate and teacher Heidi Gibson’s and Nate Pollack’s business The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen has reached a milestone — 1 million grilled cheese sandwiches sold in just a little over four years of business. And they are in the process of expanding again!

food businesses

Rachel Saunders, owner of Blue Chair Fruit Company has a new book coming out this month — Blue Chair Cooks with Jam and Marmalade!  It’s all about how to incorporate fruit preserves into your cooking.

food businesses

And Renaissance graduate, Tim Lee will be opening Liquid Gold on Hyde Street in San Francisco, the city’s newest bottle shop and tap room. The grand opening was Saturday!

food businesses


Please join PTA in showing your support for local small businesses and these hard-working, passionate entrepreneurs!

Good news for local small businesses

PTA clients and students have been in the press this month and we want to share their good news…

local small businesses

Judi Henderson-Townsend of Mannequin Madness

Judi Henderson-Townsend of Mannequin Madness was recently profiled in the New York Times about her goal to hit a million dollars in revenue.

local small businesses

Oxgut Hose Co. O-Type Chair

local small businesses

Oxgut Hose Co. Walsh Wood Carrier

LauraLe Wunsch of Oxgut Hose Co. was featured in San Francisco Magazine about her line of products made from recycled fire hoses.

local small businesses

Steve Fox of Urban Putt

Inside Scoop SF profiled Steve Fox of Urban Putt, the Mission District’s forthcoming indoor miniature golf course, restaurant and bar.

local small businesses

Kelsie Kerr

Inside Scoop SF also recently profiled local chef Kelsie Kerr, co-author of The Art of Simple Food and owner of Standard Fare, which will be opening in West Berkeley next month.

local small businesses

Wendy Lieu

And after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Wendy Lieu and her sister Susan are opening Socola Chocolatier’s first retail store on Folsom Street in San Francisco in early February.

Please join PTA in showing your support for local small businesses and these hard-working, passionate entrepreneurs!

And the winner is…

mission main streets grants

The winners of the Mission Main Street Grants Program were announced today. Congratulations to the twelve small businesses that will each be receiving $250,000 to help make a positive impact in their communities.

PTA was one of the nearly 35,000 small businesses that applied for a grant this past year.  We knew from the get-go that winning would be a long shot.  We decided to apply anyway and even though we didn’t win, the grant process was energizing for us.  The pressure of a deadline was great motivation and it pushed us to reach out to our community and share our plans to pilot a new small business mentor training program.  This process has motivated us to expand our offerings and think about new ways to support small businesses.

Thank you again to everyone who showed their support for Paul Terry & Associates.  With or without grant support, together we can make great things happen.

It’s not too late to shop local

There is less than a week until Christmas! Are you still trying to find the perfect gift for your Secret Santa? When it comes to holiday shopping, I tend to leave things to the last minute. It’s NOT procrastination. I actually enjoy shopping during the week before Christmas. I like getting out into the neighborhood, visiting independently owned shops, and enjoying the festive (and sometimes frantic) mood on the street.

shop local

There are many reasons to support locally owned businesses and you can do some of your shopping right from home…even from small and micro businesses. I love supporting PTA colleagues, clients and entrepreneurship students when I shop – these are local business owners who sell great products and services, operate with integrity, and provide excellent customer service.

Here are a few local gift ideas from my list:

Since my first small business was a food business (the cheese store Cheshire Cheese) and my next small business was a café (Mad Hatter Tea), my gift-giving always includes food… either homemade or locally bought. We are blessed in San Francisco to be surrounded by small businesses making amazing food. How about a box of chocolates from Socola Chocolatiers or Belinda Chocolates, a jam club membership or jam cookbook from Blue Chair Fruit Company, tea from T-We Tea, or plum pudding with brandy butter from Clairsquares? The possibilities are endless.

So, support your local businesses this season and let’s keep our holiday dollars in the local economy. Hit the streets (or go online) and share in the good feeling that your support will bring to local small businesses this year.

Strength In Numbers

Raising money for an emerging or expanding small business is usually a necessity and “bootstrapping” (pulling yourself up from your personal resources only) is often not possible after the initial launch stage. Finding money has typically meant visiting banks, knocking on every friendly door you can think of, and asking your family for help.

In a recent post I mentioned some local funding resources and a couple of online tools for raising capital. These days, using internet tools to solicit funds from the community or find potential investors is a popular (and often quite successful) alternative to the traditional means of raising small business capital. New business owners can now secure start-up or expansion capital with a little bit of support from a lot of people. “Crowdfunding” is really a strength in numbers strategy.


There are many online crowdfunding platforms to choose from and sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are just the tip of the iceberg. Each one is different and some may only be a good fit if you meet certain criteria.

Many of these platforms can’t be used to solicit loans or offer financial returns or equity to supporters. They are essentially tools to get “grants” from friends, family and your wider community. You can offer small thank you gifts or perks in exchange for their financial support (such as a t-shirt branded with your company logo or an invite to a “members-only” event related to your business). These little offerings can inspire people to give, even in small amounts.

With the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act), which President Obama signed into law last year, there may soon be changes to the crowd-funding landscape. The Securities and Exchange Commission is in the process of finalizing and implementing rules on a provision of the Act that could make it possible for people to use crowd-funding platforms to raise investment capital from “Main Street” investors.

In the meantime, there are a number of online sites that can be used to target accredited investors or to secure a loan. Fundable is geared toward small business start-ups who can choose to offer rewards to their backers or equity to accredited investors in exchange for funding. CircleUp is an equity-based crowd-funding platform that focuses on angel investments in consumer product and retail companies. EquityNet, which calls itself “the original crowd-funding platform,” is specifically designed for entrepreneurs seeking equity capital or who are looking for loans, grants and access to a network of business supporters. Prosper and more recently, Kiva Zip, make it possible for entrepreneurs and small business owners to secure peer-to-peer loans.

Pay-in-advance is another strategy for raising a little capital from a lot of people. Similar to the CSA concept where eaters pay a farmer in the spring for a season of vegetables, Slow Money has created a service called Credibles, specifically designed for small, sustainable food-related businesses, which enables supporters to pre-pay for goods and services.

With all of the crowdfunding sites out there (according to industry estimates there are currently over 500 active crowdfunding platforms!), how do you figure out the right option for you?  To start, Inc Magazine has a great flow chart to help you find the best fit among 22 crowdfunding platforms and this Forbes.com blog post gives a quick break-down on the pros and cons of the top six crowdfunding sites.

A crowd-funding campaign is not only about getting the money you need for a small business start-up or expansion, it’s about the opportunity to grow your customer or client base. Through the crowd-funding process you are developing a community of ambassadors for your business—people who like your business or business idea, who support your campaign, and who will spread the word to their friends.  The crowd-funding approach can strengthen your business in more ways than just your bottom line.

photo credit: Arkansas Community Foundation (http://www.arcf.org)

Show Me the Money


How do emerging and expanding business owners find the funding they need to start and expand?  It’s not easy and it takes time to prepare the “requests”, shop them to traditional sources and wait for approvals. For most people, it means using personal savings or credit cards. Others develop a simple promissory agreement and borrow funds from family and friends. As a new business or an emerging business without adequate capital, personal assets or a longer-term track record, it can be quite difficult to qualify for a traditional business loan.

In the SF Bay Area, there are a few non-profit organizations that can help small businesses and microenterprises. Working Solutions provides micro loans for small businesses from $5,000 to $50,000 and provides 5 years of post-loan support and advice. Opportunity Fund is a non-profit social enterprise that provides micro-loans for small businesses. They have a strong focus on supporting minority-owned small businesses. MEDA (Mission Economic Development Agency) is focused on the Mission and Excelsior Districts of San Francisco and works hard to make small loans more accessible to local businesses. The Mission Asset Fund is a non-profit based in SF that uses a Lending Circle Model to facilitate loans to members at little or no cost.

The City of San Francisco has also recently launched the Emerging Business Loan Fund. Eligible entrepreneurs can borrow up to $1,000,000 for a variety of needs, including equipment, working capital, physical improvements, real estate and expansion opportunities.

It is becoming more and more common for small businesses to use online tools to find and secure capital from their friends and the wider community. Kickstarter, the most well known, is a platform for funding creative projects, Indiegogo can be used to raise money for all types of campaigns, and there are a whole host of other crowdfunding platforms out there that entrepreneurs can use when looking for funds. For more information on the organizations and companies listed here (and many more), check out the Resources page of my website.

And don’t forget… for any business seeking capital, a business plan will be critical!  Paul Terry & Associates can help review funder proposals and business model assumptions, and can also help you develop an action plan—an essential step in securing the funding you’ll need.