Technical Support: IGNITE Your Business Program
In late 2017, District Bridges and SeeChange Consulting worked together to develop the IGNITE Your Business program. The idea behind the program was to give business owners a new perspective into their business and new tools to grow their business.
Six businesses were selected to participate in our first cohort and were a combination of new and veteran business owners in retail and food service.
- Alex Kramer, Dos Gringos Cafe (Mount Pleasant)
- Nelly Romero, Los Compadres (Mount Pleasant)
- Veronica Hernandez, El West (Mount Pleasant)
- Arun Mody, Sportsmans Liquors (Mount Pleasant)
- Chris Arias, Alex Salon (Mount Pleasant)
- Yamrot Ezineh, Letena (Columbia Heights)
Over the course of four months, the group collaborated together to create their living business plans, gain skills to run and grow their business, and develop their network for ongoing mutual support and business development.
“It’s been a great experience, getting down on the ground with these business owners, understanding their challenges, building on their successes. Yes, IGNITE is about building your business plan, an essential tool for managing a healthy business, but it’s also about creating community. When our small local businesses are successful, our community is vibrant!” said Brianne Dornbush, Executive Director of District Bridges.
Having successfully completed the pilot program, SeeChange and District Bridges are entering the New Year energized by the successes and reflective of the lessons-learned. Just as small business owners must be thinking about their goals and intentions for 2018, so must organizations.
“My biggest lesson-learned,” says Dornbush, “is that we have to keep this program going and growing. Running your own business is not easy. Owners need all the help they can get to survive and thrive out there.”
Start the Year off Right with IGNITE
“As we jump into 2018, we look forward to engaging with a new cohort of IGNITERS, incorporating our lessons-learned to make an even more impactful program,” says Dornbush. “We’re taking applications for IGNITE grantees now, and will kick-off the new program in February.”
Participants for Cohort 2 will be selected by a District Bridges based on the following criteria:
- Licensed businesses with storefronts in Mt Pleasant, Columbia Heights, Pleasant Plains, Parkview, or Petworth
- Businesses committed to the IGNITE program and attendance at all monthly workshops and coaching sessions
- Businesses engaged in supporting fellow-business owners through the program
- Businesses willing to make an in-kind contribution to the program (in the form of food, space, service or other relevant business offering)
“I felt fortunate to be part of the pilot program,” says Alex Kramer, owner of Dos Gringos Café for 15 years. “Sure, I’m a veteran – all more reason to pause and stock of the changes needed in my shop and opportunities to even better serve my community.”
Want to learn more about the program? Check our our blog post: So... Tell Me More About This IGNITE Program. Or click the button below and send us an email.
By: Anne Pellicciotto
Anne is a consultant, coach and trainer, and developer of the IGNITE program. She is a native Washingtonian and resident of Mount Pleasant. She founded her company, See Change, in 2001, bringing 20 years of experience around innovation, collaboration, and resilience to each and every client project. In 2010 Anne joined the Peace Corps, living and working in a rural pueblo in Mexico. There she put her business and organization development skills to use to help build sustainable micro-enterprises. Anne currently consults with small, locally-owned businesses. Anne is a frequent speaker and facilitator of workshops on change, empowerment and leadership and one of District Bridges network consultants.