By Dr. Sunita Cooke
MiraCosta College is helping to build the region’s growing legion of entrepreneurs. And nowhere is that more evident than in our new Veterans Business Outreach Center, a federally funded effort to support service members who are leaving the military and embarking on building their own business.
The only program of its kind in Southern California, the Veterans Business Outreach Center opened last month at our Technology Career Institute in Carlsbad. Veterans Business Outreach Centers elsewhere in the country counsel and mentor approximately 60,000 veterans each year through workshops and training sessions, and also assist them in developing five-year business plans.
A key component of the MiraCosta College effort includes boosting participation in the Boots to Business training programs at Camp Pendleton, the Marine Corps base at Twenty-Nine Palms, Marine Corps Recruit Depot – San Diego, Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Ventura County, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Edwards Air Force Base, and Fort Irwin National Training Center. Boots to Business is a successful Small Business Administration program that has trained more than 40,000 transitioning service members, reservists, National Guard members and military spouses as they embark on building their future in civilian life.
But the new Veterans Business Outreach Center is just the latest in an impressive list of MiraCosta College-led programs that support our region’s entrepreneurs. The North San Diego Small Business Development Center is another.
Hosted by MiraCosta College, the Small Business Development Center opened in 1999 and has been transforming lives since. Funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration the North San Diego Small Business Development Center’s service area covers all of San Diego County north of Interstate 8, and is dedicated to increasing the economic vitality of the community by helping small businesses and entrepreneurs build a foundation for success.
Through training, workshops, counseling, and courses, the Small Business Development Center since its inception is credited with increasing business revenue by more than $137 million; retaining or creating nearly 2,600 jobs; raising $50 million in capital; helping in the creation of 331 new businesses; and generating $40 million in government contracts.
Since Jan. 1, 2015, alone, the Small Business Development Center has helped increase sales by $25 million, has helped create or retain 239 jobs and has helped establish 59 businesses. Some 4,422 people have taken part in the center’s training sessions, including 1,536 members of minority communities and 551 military veterans.
MiraCosta College, meanwhile, continues to offer an array of for-credit courses in topics subjects such as Social Media for Business, Small Business Management, Marketing, and Advertising & Promotions that are making a difference daily in the lives of entrepreneurs.
As chair of the state Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation and a Strong Economy to strengthen workforce education throughout the 113-campus California Community Colleges system, I know that we must do everything we can to work in tandem with our business partners. A key part of our mission at MiraCosta College is to enhance workforce development for our region, and thanks to the continued support of our business, civic and community partners, we are succeeding in that goal.