Category: local business

Sierra Commons is excited to announce that we have named Nevada County resident, Hilary Hodge, as their Executive Director. Hilary Hodge is the first Executive Director for Sierra Commons since founder anddirector Robert Trent resigned last year. Hodge has been volunteering with Sierra Commons for the past two years and joined the Board of Directors in March of 2014. Before moving to Nevada County four years ago, Hodge had lived in Sacramento and had sat on the Board of Directors for Sacramento Pride and the California National Organization for Women. Hilary Hodge has nearly 20 years’ experience working for and running non-profit organizations.

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“Hilary Hodge has shown her commitment to the Sierra Commons’ mission and to bringing together a diverse population so that each can learn from one another,” says Board President Samantha Hinrichs. “Along with Hilary Hodge, the Sierra Commons staff, faculty, and volunteers will continue to be able to assist the continued growth of our small business community in Nevada County.”

“Hilary Hodge has been a pleasure to work with and a real driver behind the continued success of Sierra Commons”, reveals Coryon Redd, Sierra Commons Board Member. “Her attention to detail and leadership have been a real asset.”

Sierra Commons continues to offer business mentoring, classes, a work-share community and the “Ignitor” course, their signature business incubator and class series. They have a coworking facility where freelancers, contractors and remote workers can rent desk space daily and monthly. Their vibrant coworking campus fosters collaboration, peer-to-peer mentoring, support and camaraderie in a professional environment. Sierra Commons also offers conference room rentals as well as day use services.

“Sierra Commons offers an infrastructure and community that no other facility or work environment in Nevada County can offer,” says Hilary Hodge. “We are a vibrant and fun place to work where the work gets done. I’m looking forward to serving Sierra Commons in a leadership role. As a volunteer and as a board member, I have had the privilege to see Sierra Commons thrive and grow in the past two years. Our coworking facility and our classes offer an incredible resource to our community.” Hilary Hodge adds, “I’m excited to take Sierra Commons to the next level.”

In the next year, the Nevada County public, creative class and business community can look to Sierra Commons for single subject classes, the “Ignitor” course, social events and ongoing support of Nevada County’s small business community.

This is a time of year when it can be particularly difficult to work from home, or in restaurants and cafes. The holidays can be really stressful and, if not, busy and distracting.

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The Sierra Commons Campus

At a time when people are running around and constantly planning and cooking and traveling and visiting, I find that I am incredibly thankful that I work at Sierra Commons , that I have an office to go to with interesting and thoughtful people to hang out with.

Even though I had a particularly nice Thanksgiving yesterday, I still looked forward to being able to go into an office and work away from home this morning. As my family ran around, getting ready to go shopping or catch trains, I packed a piece of left over pumpkin pie and headed to Sierra Commons to quietly get a few things done before I join up with my loved ones at Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley this evening.

Sierra Commons along with the City of Nevada City is teaming up with SARTA, the Sacramento Regional Technical Alliance, to bring the Epic Beer and Geeks event to Nevada County on Thursday November 20th 6pm-8pm to be held at ol’ Republic Brewery in Nevada City.  Thursday’s event in Nevada City is being held in conjunction with four other locations in Northern California including Sacramento, Folsom, Davis and Roseville and will connect local entrepreneurs, hackers, techies, computer nerds and small business owners throughout the Northern California region.  The event is a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week and the public is invited to participate.

ol' Republic Brewery is located on Argall Way in Nevada City

ol’ Republic Brewery is located on Argall Way in Nevada City

“Nevada City is thrilled to serve as a host city for the Epic Beers and Geeks networking event in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week,” say Mark Prestwich, City Manager for Nevada City. “We are home to incredible technology talent in this region and hope budding entrepreneurs, technology professionals, and others will participate in this tremendous and cost-free opportunity.”  The City of Nevada City issued a proclamation at the City Council meeting on November 12th celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week and acknowledging Sierra Commons for the organization’s dedication to connecting and engaging technology entrepreneurs in our community.

The Epic Beer and Geeks event is a casual mixer designed to help techies around the region connect, learn, and engage.  The event is designed to foster comradery and to help connect the Nevada County tech community to the greater tech community in the Sacramento region and in Northern California.

“This event is going to be fun but it additionally gives our local talent the opportunity to connect and network with other professionals on a regional level,” says Hilary Hodge of Sierra Commons.   “We have a lot of tech savvy people who live and work in our county.  Teaming up with SARTA for Thursday’s Beer and Geeks event gives Nevada County an opportunity to showcase our talent.”  A representative from SARTA will be at the event.  The event will include video conferencing with the other events and locations.  For more information contact Sierra Commons at (530) 265-8443 or info@sierracommons.org.

On Thursday November 13th, Sierra Commons will be offering a two-part class on LinkedIn, a business-oriented social networking service, with 300 million members. LinkedIn is a website that is free to join and has two people join its network each second worldwide. Sierra Commons will be hosting the two-part class in a single evening starting at 5:30pm with the first ninety minutes focused on beginning skills and the second ninety minutes taking a more in-depth and goals-focused approach to profile-building.

From Mommy Bloggers to Fortune 100 CEOs, LinkedIn is the site to use for managing and growing your personal professional network. According to Forbes Magazine, “Linkedin is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job-seekers and business professionals today.” LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks, having started in 2003. Sierra Commons is excited to offer the class and wants to help our local professionals join LinkedIn and standout among the crowd.

“To do well, its important to have a strategy,” say Sari Hale-Alper who will be teaching the class. “LinkedIn is an incredible resource that anyone can use with the right training and strategy. Most people don’t know how to use LinkedIn in a way that serves their goals. I want to help people figure out what the right way is and what’s right for them.”

The class is a strategy-based class designed to help LinkedIn users achieve specific goals. Do you want to get noticed in your field? Do you want to collaborate? Do you want to get noticed by a recruiter? Many people who use LinkedIn aren’t using the site for its optimum features. The class at Sierra Commons will help people achieve more and move forward with the right focus. If a person uses LinkedIn systematically and effectively, it is a tool that is worth the time.

“There are many people in Nevada County who feel comfortable using local, isolated internet groups to frame conversations about local businesses. But there is a relevant internet world outside of Nevada County that contributes to the local business conversation through websites like Yelp, Foursquare, and LinkedIn,” says Hilary Hodge of Sierra Commons. “If people in Nevada county want to hone their internet business skills and start using available websites to frame conversations on a local, national and international level for local business we can start with LinkedIn.”

For more information or to sign up for the class, email info@sierracommons.org or call (530) 265-8443

I heard some great advice today at a workshop in Grass Valley hosted by Score, an organization dedicated to small business, similar to Sierra Commons and based out of Sacramento.  One of the workshop presenters advised business owners to find a buddy and have a conversation or, at the very least, “take yourself out to coffee once a month.”

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Community members come together at Sierra Commons.

Running a business is no easy task. It’s good to have friends to talk to.  Sierra Commons can help.

Do you want to network casually and learn from other members of the business community? Do you need a few business buddies? Do you need a few folks to bounce ideas off of? The Sierra Commons “Lunch and Learn” is open to the public and allows folks to come together for an hour once per month for a casual, low-pressure, participant-driven round table.  We meet every first Thursday of the month from 12noon-1pn at the Sierra Commons Campus: 792 A Searls Ave in Nevada City.

Our next lunch and learn is on November 6th, 2014.

This is a chance to share ideas, brain storm and voice concerns in a relaxed environment. Bring a lunch! Please join us!

There are no good jobs in Nevada County!” How often have you heard this?

At Sierra Commons, we hear this comment a lot. Members of the skilled and/or educated work force in Nevada County have found that it is easy to become frustrated with the lack of employment opportunities in our community. Many of the locally available jobs are in the service or tourist industry and don’t use trade skills, advanced skills and/or a college education. Some folks have started to diversify their scope of work to make extra money. Some people have taken on two or three jobs just to make ends meet. Frustrated by unfulfilling jobs, many people are turning to freelancing and contract work, as well as entrepreneurship and starting their own businesses. For many people frustrated with the local economy, Sierra Commons is a beacon of hope. Sierra Commons creates good jobs in Nevada County and we keep good employees local.

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Sierra Commons is probably best known for its “coworking facility,” an office space where people come together to work, exchange ideas and share in a regular professional social environment. Wikipedia offers a great definition of coworking: “It is style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with like-minded talented people in the same space.” Sierra Commons’ office space and education center is located at 792 A Searls Ave in Nevada City. We offer desk rental and day use, which includes high-speed internet and utilities. We have 20-30 regular members throughout the year and have regular visitors who drop in on a daily basis to our facility to take advantage of our office setting in order to work on a project or meet a looming deadline. We love the energy that both our members and visitors bring to our coworking facility.

In addition to offering a professional work environment for members and visitors, we are also a 501(c)(3) non-profit education center and business incubator. We offer continuing education to the public and to business professionals through classes and workshops. We offer confidential mentoring for sole-proprietors, managers, owners, employees and entrepreneurs who may be struggling with taking their skills or business to the next level, or who simply may need some guidance about a frustrating situation at work or a brush-up on business basics. Our goal is to ensure the local economic health of our community by offering education and support.

Our signature course is our Business Ignitor, a set of business incubator classes that takes entrepreneurs through the steps of creating and sustaining a healthy business, while helping established business owners to take an active role in their business’ stability and momentum. We help people get their businesses out of their garages and on to Main Street. We help people turn the hobbies that they love in to the careers they enjoy. We help people to stay in the careers they want to have and help entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level.

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Sierra Commons was founded in Nevada County five years ago, during the heart of an economic recession. What emerged was a community icon for a thoughtful and strong local economy. We want to emphasize that Sierra Commons creates good jobs. We create jobs in Nevada County that people want to have, jobs that people are passionate about. It is one thing for someone to do a mechanical job with no real connection to their employment. It is far better to have an employment opportunity where the people involved in a business feel a passion for what they are doing. As Charles Eisenstein writes in his book, Sacred Economics, “Once work has become mechanical, it is in a sense too late — inhuman work might as well be done by machines.” It is not enough to simply create jobs. We must create good jobs that people want to do. Sierra Commons knows how to create good jobs.

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By providing a campus where people can come together, share ideas and get involved in a professional environment, with mentoring and professional services, ongoing education, and incubator classes, Sierra Commons is a pinnacle of economic development in Nevada County. We provide a space for employees who want to live in Nevada County but who work remotely. We provide a professional setting for freelancers, contractors and professionals who need a place to work. Sierra Commons helps start-ups and individual business people to have a space where the utilities and overhead costs are a part of a package deal, cutting down on initial cost of starting a business and allowing for businesses to be more successful in the introduction phases of doing business. Sierra Commons provides the tools for people hoping to start their own successful business. We provide an education center for all levels of business in Nevada County. Sierra Commons is not a typical entrepreneurial resource; we are a collaborative, community-focused economic program and we have a passionate commitment to see Nevada County thrive.

I recently showed a potential new member around the Sierra Commons office. She liked our facility and enjoyed the people. She was excited to have some free conference room time each month, a benefit to all of our members. But, like with many people who aren’t familiar with Sierra Commons or co-working, she wondered, “Why don’t all these people just work from home?”
Lower floor at Sierra Commons

Lower floor at Sierra Commons

It’s an interesting question but it is easily answered. A co-working space is more than just a desk or an office space in a building somewhere. When you are part of a co-working facility, you are a part of a community. For many entrepreneurs and independent contractors, having co-workers improves productivity and helps the bottom line. Additionally, having a group of people to turn to and bounce ideas off of can be a priceless tool when working as an independent contractor, a freelancer or as someone who works for a company remotely.
Working alone can be hard for a lot of people. For one thing, it can be very expensive to try to work from home. There are a lot of start up costs involved and utilities can become more than a person bargained for. It is also difficult to remain focused when working on one’s own, especially when working at one’s home. Work and ideas can stagnate, causing a person to work below their potential. It is easy to blur the lines between work and home activities and many people find themselves taking care of home chores during the day and then working late into the evening on work activities, making it harder to maintain a work-life balance.
Collaboration at Sierra Commons

Collaboration at Sierra Commons

Working alone can be very lonely. It’s nice to be a part of office potlucks and water cooler chitchat. Having co-workers helps to break up the day into a sensible workflow. Having a place to work helps to free up your free time. With co-working, you can work independently but you don’t have to work alone.

Sierra Commons is offering our signature six-week course to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams of launching and growing their business. Known as the “Business Ignitor Course” the course consists of six 3 hour evening sessions starting Thursday September 18th at 6:00 pm at the Sierra Commons office located at 792 Searls Ave, Suite A in Nevada City. More than a business-plan workshop, the course brings together a group of motivated entrepreneurs and guides them through all of the steps needed to create a thriving enterprise.

Sierra Commons Classroom

Sierra Commons Classroom

This will be the sixth time that Sierra Commons has offered their Business Ignitor Course but the first time that it will be held in the evening. Building on the success of previous Business Ignitor Courses, the curriculum has been refined and tailored to serve our unique business community. As an additional perk, Sierra Commons is providing three months of free membership at their co-working facility to top performing graduates.  Sierra Commons will continue mentoring and housing these graduates to further increase their business success rate.

The Ignitor course was important to me for filling in the business-related gaps in my knowledge,” says Nick Santos, Ignitor graduate and current Sierra Commons member. “As the Executive Director of Environmental Consumer, a nonprofit that enables real, measurable reductions in environmental impact, I could manage the technical and organizational side. With the Business Ignitor course, I learned a better way to track clients and to think about business information.”

Mixer at Sierra Commons

Mixer at Sierra Commons

Whether someone is hoping to start a new business, or is looking for a way to revitalize an on-going project, the Business Ignitor is a great opportunity for budding entrepreneurs. It is also a wonderful way for struggling business owners to receive the mentoring and collaboration needed to make a business thrive. The course’s approach is action-based and covers topics including business planning, market analysis, marketing strategies, finance, budgeting, web, business law and more.  Course faculty are seasoned professionals who teach weekly classes, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to each topic.  Students also meet with mentors for special one-on-one sessions and for group discussions. Small businesses benefit from collaborative entrepreneurship and Sierra Commons offers exactly that.

Sierra Commons serves the community in a variety of ways. For membership, class enrollment, to rent the conference room or to get more information, please call the Sierra Commons at (530) 265-8443 or email info@sierracommons.org.

 

2014 TechEdge

Advancing our innovation economy
Celebrating our technology sector
Succeeding in Sacramento

Friday, March 7, 2014
11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Sacramento

Image from TechEdge 2013

Each year TechEdge is the place where the Sacramento tech community convenes to share and celebrate the successes of the past 12 months, and to gain insight and inspiration from the TechEdge speakers and from each other.

More than 500 tech companies, more than 650 total attendees, 3 great local CEO speakers, 1 high-energy keynote speaker in Andy Miller – there’s no better place to be in Sacramento in 2014 to capture the energy and drive of this critical part of our economy.

Don’t just take our word for it…check out video from last year’s TechEdge!

Keynote Speaker

Andy Miller, Leap Motion
Andy Miller
CEO,
Leap Motion™

Succeeding in Sacramento Speakers

Cate Dyer, StemExpress Michael Miille, Bayer CropScience Robert Winkler, 5th Planet Games
Cate Dyer
Founder & CEO
StemExpress
Michael Miille
Head of Strategic &
Business Mgmt,
Biologics
Bayer CropScience
Robert Winkler
Co-Founder & CEO
5th Planet Games

Register now – early-bird registration is available only through February 21, and moreover this event will sell out!  Gain the clear benefit of registering early, and eliminate the potential cost of waiting too long!

What: Grow your Business Through Blogging and other Social Media outlets
Who: Coryon Redd and Erin Thiem
When: Wednesday, January 15th, 6:30-8pm
Cost: $25
Presented by Coryon Redd/Internet Marketing Guru and Erin Thiem, InnSide Nevada City Blogger

blogimageA blog is a comprehensive medium that provides detailed information about your business, services and products and Business Blogging is fast becoming a vital part of any online strategy. When utilized effectively, a blog can be a valuable asset for your company. Erin & Coryon will give you some tips and ideas for launching your own blogging site so you can increase your community presence and customer base.

If you haven’t visited Erin’s fabulous blog, check it out!  Or check our Coryon.com for Coryon’s tips and advice on internet marketing.