Last week I had the pleasure and satisfaction of watching six women entrepreneurs present their business stories to their peers and loved ones at the Slate Gallery in Oakland’s Temescal District. Each woman had just completed a 12 week course in entrepreneurship developed by the Hatch Network, a new, San Francisco-based company whose mission is “to be the absolute best provider of entrepreneurial education and services for women in the world.”
What the Hatch Network does, besides provide the curriculum, is to establish a network that connects experienced business veterans – the mentors – with ambitious business owners – the students. Once those connections are established, the teaching/mentoring begins.
When Hatch Network co-owners, Allie Covarrubias and Claire Fontana asked that I become a mentor in their network, I didn’t hesitate. I was already familiar with their skills as leaders and visionaries and I wanted to become a part of their new venture. Mentoring women entrepreneurs seemed like such a great complement to my financial planning practice, where I focus on women, their families and businesses.My initial concerns about time committments (I’m a solo practitioner, self employed) proved to be premature. This was a rich and rewarding experience.
So, back to the graduation celebration at the Slate Gallery in Oakland. The 12 weeks of classes are structured so that at the end, students are prepared for and required to present their business story as if they were presenting to investors or clients. They outline the who, what, when, why and how much of their business. The challenge is meant to help them achieve clarity over important business questions. Who are we? What do we provide. Who are our clients? Why are we unique? What benefits accrue to our customers? How much does our service cost? How much will we sell? And most important, how much will we make?
As you might expect, each of the six women were as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. Public speaking was a daunting prospect, added to the writing and technical skills needed to pull together a dynamic 8-10 minute presentation. But when they each took their turn, it was as if they had been practicing for days….each more polished and professional than the next. It was truly gratifying to watch them and to have been a part of their story.
Who are these ambitious women and what are their businesses?
Owner, Funding for College
Provides a personalized college funding search to assist students/parents in attaining financial aid: scholarships, fellowships, and grants – necessary to attend the college of their choice.
Owner, Jane Inch Life Coaching: Reveal Your Inner Sparkle (website coming soon!)
Provides lifestyle and business design programs for the midlife/empty nester who is seeking clarity and is ready to launch “what’s next” in her life.
Owner, Doggy & Me Fitness
Provides an outdoor fitness class for you and your dog.
Owner, The Art of Bathing
Provides handcrafted creams and soaps with the finest natural ingredients including shea butter
olive, jojoba, coconut and essential oils.
Owner, Inner Economics
Facilitates processes of awareness and change around people’s relationship to money.
Owner, Cavazos Environmental Consulting
Provides high quality and cost effective environmental consulting services.
If you’re interested in becoming a Hatch Network student, my next class starts in January and will be held in Oakland, California. Here’s an abbreviated course syllabus:
Week 1: Evaluating your Entrepreneurial Opportunity
Week 2: Identifying Your Ideal Customer
Week 3: Scoping Out The Competition
Week 4: What Are You Selling
Week 5: Building your Brand
Week 6: Your Company Message
Week 7: What To Charge
Week 8: Marketing Focus
Week 9: Sales 101
Week 10: Finding the Money
Week 11: Book Keeping, Briefly Legal, Insurance 101
Week 12: Be the Boss Lady: Team Building, Leadership
Week 13: Your Business Story
If you would like more information, go to The Hatch Network’s website or email Cathy Curtis
at cathy at curtisfinancialplanning.com