The view from the Entrepreneurship classroom with Areli, CHS student intern

After having completed Principles of Business and Marketing, I’m now in Entrepreneurship I, an elective course taught by Carson High’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) instructor Billy McHenry. The class provided me with an opportunity for my first internship, here at the Adams Hub. I work directly with entrepreneurs who are starting companies, in a professional business environment.

Last year, Mr. McHenry’s class focused on how to manage our money and make smart decisions with it. It gave us a great foundation for thinking differently about money. This year we’re getting hands-on, and learning how to truly run a business. During our time in this course we create an original business plan, which we eventually present to Mr. McHenry, in hopes of moving on to the “Shark Tank” event, where we then compete for a cash prize that could help us start our own businesses.

I’ve learned some incredible things and worked with some remarkable people, including some who have helped me create a more professional business plan. Molly Dahl, who also works at the Adams Hub, has been a consistent support for the students in the business program as well as myself. Because of her, we’ve learned things we would have never imagined working on, including mindfulness, customer service, teamwork, presentation skills and more. Ms. Dahl is an anchor and constant inspiration to the students in this program.

With her have come other supportive Adams Hub mentors including Miya McKenzie, Matt Westfield, and Peggy Borgman (who I also get the pleasure of working with). They have all come into the business program and shared their knowledge and expertise with the students. Ms. MacKenzie has shared the latest thinking on how to truly “think outside of the box” before starting a business. Matt Westfield has presented a class on how to make a successful business pitch and win any audience over. Peggy Borgman, who has been a small business owner, discussed her experience with running her own company and the importance of offering world-class customer service.

The members of the Adams Hub team have left their mark in the Carson High business program and furthered the love of business we Entrepreneurship students share!

1 Million Cups Live-stream in Carson City

Looking for a little inspiration on Hump Day? Grab a cup of fabulous Hub Coffee Roasters coffee, network with other entrepreneurs and business people, and enjoy the weekly live-stream of a popular Reno entrepreneurial event. While the Reno meetings unfold in the state-of-the-art Innevation Center every Wednesday from 9-10 AM, The Union will live-stream the event for the public in its new coffee house, which features Hub Coffee Roasters. During the casual, networking-friendly event, attendees will also have the option of ordering breakfast, espresso drinks, and fresh-baked pastries from the Union’s new menu.

“We’re excited to bring another great entrepreneurial event to Carson,” notes Miya MacKenzie, Chief Professional Officer at Adams Hub for innovation, a downtown business incubator and co-working habitat. “The Union’s wonderful new space is the ideal venue.”

1 Million Cups events are weekly meetings in which local entrepreneurs engage with their communities by presenting their early-stage businesses to a diverse audience, including other small business owners, advisors, and mentors. Run by more than 800 volunteers in over 40 states and one United States territory, these programs are organized by individual chapters who host their own meetings in locations that include coffee shops and co-working spaces.

The format is simple: entrepreneurs present for six minutes and then hold a twenty-minute question and answer session with the audience. By receiving honest and open real-time feedback from individuals with a similar business mindset, entrepreneurs can gain valuable insight into their startups from their own community, including ways that they can improve, moving forward.

While business owners certainly stand to gain from these events, everyone in attendance can learn a great deal by listening to and interacting with the presenters during the Q & A sessions. 1 Million Cups emphasizes a collaborative and welcoming culture in which attendees are encouraged to support each other in the various stages of their entrepreneurial journeys. All 1 Million Cups events are free and open to anyone.

“Adams Hub hosts an award-winning chapter of Entrepreneurs Assembly each month, and we anticipate that hosting 1MC at the Union will give EA members a chance to continue their networking and collaboration on a weekly basis,” says MacKenzie.

The 1 Million Cups name springs from the idea that millions of new ideas and connections occur over those all-important cups of coffee. The program was developed by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit based in Kansas City, Missouri, and has seen rapid growth in recent years, increasing from 23 communities in January of 2014 to 100 communities in October of 2016. The current number of communities involved in the program is now 165. 1MC has generated buzz in media outlets such as The New York Times, Success, and Fast Company.

The live-streams of the 1 Million Cups Reno chapter’s events will be held at the Coffee Shop located at the rear of The Union Eatery and Taphouse, 301 N Carson Street. You’ll find the coffee shop through the courtyard entrance at West Proctor and Curry Streets.

Live-streams will take place every Wednesday from 9-10 AM.

For more information about the Carson City 1MC event, contact Adams Hub at 775.222.0001.

To learn more about attending or presenting at the Reno live event at UNR’s Innevation Center, visit https://www.1millioncups.com/reno.

How to Research Almost Anything: Lunchbox Learning Class April 27, 12-1 p.m.

If you’ve tried to do vital using Google and Wikipedia, you may have discovered that the “good stuff,” accurate, professionally-vetted data, is behind paywalls. One such premium database is ReferenceUSA. The Research Ninjas of the Library utilize ReferenceUSA and other premium tools on Wednesdays and Fridays while helping , solopreneurs, startups and community businesses at Adams Hub (psst! It’s free.)

On Thursday, April 27th at noon, The Carson City Library and The Studio at Adams Hub for welcome ReferenceUSA Senior Account Executive Nancy Spidle, who’ll share the amazing capabilities of this business-focused database, which offers accurate data on 268 million consumers and 48 million businesses. Learn how to find answers to your burning business questions as you scrutinize markets, search for customers, optimize your supply chain or get a deeper understanding of your competition. Learn how to search smarter, faster and more strategically in this informative free hour-long class.

To RSVP for Lunchbox Learning or reserve a session with a Carson Library Research Ninja, email grow@adamshub.com or call us at 775.222.0001.

Carolyn Usinger of ReadyConnect

We caught up with Carolyn Usinger, founder of disaster-recovery communications company ReadyConnect.

Why did you start ReadyConnect?
I have a passion for helping businesses succeed. My earliest careers were involved with foreclosures and bankruptcies. After those experiences, I wanted to devote my life to helping businesses succeed. I started by creating a series of kits to help people create their businesses easily, with the California Chamber of Commerce.

While I was doing that, my house and home office burned in the 1991 Oakland fire. It changed my whole life. I began to look at disasters through new eyes. I learned that 50% of local businesses don’t survive a disaster. Of the ones that do, another 50% are gone within 3 years. Disasters have a very long-tail effect of small businesses.

What are some of the things we don’t understand about disaster recovery?
Even well-meaning attempts to help can backfire. For example, a truckload of bottled water or a load of plywood may be donated to the community, and undermine sales that could have gone to struggling local businesses. Without accurate insights into what a community needs, efforts to help often don’t hit their intended target. ReadyConnect facilitates communication, coordination and recovery. It pulls the community together. As we say, “Don’t face a disaster alone.”

During a disaster’s immediate aftermath, consumers don’t know which businesses are open, which are closed, which may have supplies that they need. Employers may have difficulty finding out the status of employees. During power outages, cellphone batteries run low as people make multiple calls to family, friends, and employers.

I began doing research through chambers of commerce and started to create a toolkit. As I learned more about the needs of businesses following disaster, that tool morphed and grew. It became a resource to help business and people connect to each other.

Since then, the number of natural disasters and the intensity of the destruction has magnified. ReadyConnect was created to make recovery a reality, supporting local businesses and individuals with a community network. My goal is to provide toolkits to every community in the country, to enable them to start recovering on Day 1 instead of starting from scratch.

How does your product work?
Our toolkit is hosted online for business and we offer a mobile for end users. We’re beginning with Chambers of Commerce, so every member business receives an online toolkit at no charge, and their employees and families can purchase as many mobile apps as they wish. Anyone can purchase the mobile app, so we expect that our subscriber base will grow organically through these personal connections. If you’re connected, you want your friends and family to be, too.

The businesses create disaster plans and the employees who have the app can build their own family disaster plan. One of the features people appreciate most is that we keep their contact lists up to date and enable them to have fast, efficient, battery-preserving “one button” communication with all those people. But it is much more than a communication tool. Perhaps the most important element of ReadyConnect is that we help businesses themselves to the Ready-Connected Community in the aftermath of a disaster. They will be able to notify consumers of crucial supplies in stock. If they’re scrambling to re-open, they can let people know their re-opening date and sell vouchers to keep cash flowing. This is absolutely critical, because many businesses that survive that first year following a disaster will eventually succumb to poor sales. The disaster doesn’t end when the media coverage does.

How does this differ from what Facebook is doing?
Facebook offers a “safe” notification, which is a simple way to notify friends and family of your status–if you’re all Facebook subscribers. Now imagine, following a disaster, trying to remember who you have reached and then having to still communicate by phone or text with the individuals you’ve missed. Another serious issue is that Facebook and other social media sites are rife with scams and rumors, even well-meaning misinformation. ReadyConnect provides forums that are vetted by local community leaders. Users can ask questions and get reliable answers. We’re a source of trusted information. We can start disseminating information before the disaster center opens five days after the fact. We provide a platform on which to organize the recovery.

We recognize that not all disasters are big, natural disasters. A fire or broken pipe can close a business, too. So we’re offering ReadyConnect as a tool for “everyday” recovery.

What are some challenges you’ve faced?
People don’t want to think about disasters. And it’s human nature not to prepare—it’s called “denial”. So we are approaching “preparation” with tools that businesses can use every day, as well as during these epic events. For example, a tool to “broadcast” updates to your employees if you’re experiencing a sudden closure, that enables them to easily view work schedules and cover shifts.

There’s the obvious problem of government agencies being consumed with major infrastructure issues such as repairing roads or levees or putting out fires. But when it comes to recovery, we find that different agencies are “siloed.” There is not good integration of resources. Disaster centers are not enough. Without clarity about a community’s needs, agencies may not be providing the right help. We have built this company to deliver what FEMA is asking for, a “Whole Community Approach.” Unless you own your own business, you can’t understand the urgency of keeping your doors open. A weeks’ closure can be the difference between life and death for many local businesses. Folks in government don’t experience this kind of traumatic job insecurity, so their ability to relate to this situation can be limited. Meanwhile, a owner may be paying salaries to employees even when they have no sales and revenue. Many sacrifice themselves to keep their teams going, expecting that recovery will be faster.

In speaking with cities, we’ve learned that they’re willing to spend $30,000 on a reverse 911 system yet don’t understand why they should invest 10% of that cost to enable their community to recover. That has been eye-opening. Chambers “get it” because they’re part of the business community, so they’re our target market for the rollout.

Where is ReadyConnect now?
This is a very exciting time—we’re launching in five communities in California: Palo Alto, San Mateo, Half Moon Bay, Encino and Culver City. We’re working through Chambers of Commerce because they’re already connected to community businesses and they get it. Ironically, businesses receive the least amount of support after a disaster, and yet healthy businesses are key to the recovery of the entire community. ReadyConnect is filling a gap, and we’re very excited about the future.

Innovator Interview: Justin Huntington, DRI researcher and MapWater co-founder

Read our blog, 8 Daily Habits that Boost Productivity

 

INTERVIEW: Dr. Justin Huntington of MapWater

How did MapWater come into being?

justin-speaking-at-googles-earth-engine-2016-user-summit

Dr. Huntington of the (co-founder of MapWater) giving a presentation at Google’s Earth Engine 2016 User Summit.

Water and agriculture in the western U.S. are multi-billion dollar resources that are central to the regional economy and future development. An important component of water development, management, and sustainability in the western U.S. is a detailed accounting of historical and current water use from irrigated agriculture. There is a great need for accurate, defensible, and timely maps of water use that are summarized on a field-by-field basis–the spatial scale at which water rights are managed. MapWater is a new company founded by researchers at the Desert Institute that provides satellite-based field scale water use and vegetation vigor products using multiple NASA and non-NASA earth observation platforms and spatial data-sets. These products can be used by water and natural resource agencies to support day-to-day decision making, long-term water resource planning and management, hydrologic studies, and obligations for water governance and interstate agreements.

 

Why do you do what you do?

Helping to better manage and protect natural resources using new satellite and cloud computing is quite exciting and inspirational. Just a few years ago making field-scale water use and vegetation vigor maps was very labor intensive and expensive. Now days we can make maps in seconds compared to days or weeks.

What was the most exciting development for you in 2016?

The use of cloud computing to quickly make maps and data summaries that are easily assessible to end users via a web browser.

What lies ahead for 2017?

We are working with several government and NGOs to develop products that best suit their needs.

How has your experience at Adams Hub contributed to your success?

Adams Hub has provided the support and environment to accelerate research to , and development of a sustainable model.

Contact Dr. Huntington at JustinH@.edu