TWO DECADES PAST
My Wild Decade of Serial Entrepreneurship
The Director of the local Economic Development Autority introduced me as a serial entrepreneur. I guess it's true.
As the 2000's came, I had a company, already formed, from when I had written and licensed a software game, back in the days of the diskette. I hired an assistant. We transformed the company. We made it into the company that consulted for the Defense Industry, creating additional profit centers for entrepreneurial initiatives that would be funded by profits from the consulting. We also had a "double bottom line" mission - not only making a profit but doing social good as well.
The company took the consulting profits and remodeled a historic building, which we call the Hamilton Carriage House. We also worked with the Ravalli County Victim's Advocate to find a suitable building for what is now known as Emma's House, a homelike setting for forensic interviews of child victims of crime – we recruited an investor, bought it, built to suit, and leased it the Bitterroot Valley Child Advocacy Center.
The company wrote an award-winning business plan for the Ravalli County Entrepreneurship Center run by the Ravalli County Economic Authority (RCEDA). We worked with the Director to help small businesses that were trying to get started or about the fail, including giving microloans and practical help.
Not all ideas are winners: the Composite Lumber Company Company and the expansion of Montana Made Batik. But some are a community success! The Hamilton Performing Arts Series was about to close down. We underwrote it and produced for a year to so that a non-profit could get up and running and keep it going.
Business and Social Good meet at West House. We also worked with a licensed clinical social worker who works primarily with combat veterans to understand mental illness recovery. We participated in peer group meetings, did the business research, and ran the trap line in the complicated justice system process. We developed a business plan that showed the costs, benefits to the mentally ill, and to the Sheriff's Department and County Attorney's Office. When we presented it to the Ravalli County Commission and the Department of Public Health and Human Services, the Department's representative said, "You guys get it." And, the county got one of the first grants. The Bitterroot Community made the idea become a reality, West House, a community based mental health crisis center. We went on to develop a place for the mentally ill to safely interact with the community, BISON Internet Cafe.
All the while, the company organized and deployed teams to support ongoing defense developments and proposals throughout the United States and sites in Great Britain.
In 2006, we had also created a profit center called Great Bear Restoration, a wholesale grower of native plants.