July 3, 2024
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Opinion: Moving Main Street forward


By Judy Mahan

What a difference a year makes — and when the year was 2020, this couldn’t be more true. It is beyond refreshing to see San Luis Obispo County’s Main Street areas back to their pre-pandemic hustle and bustle: diners enjoying non-socially distanced meals, yoga studios at full capacity, retailers serving their customers and ringing the cash register. These businesses are the heart and soul of our local business community and were some of the hardest hit during the pandemic.

Judy Mahan

As we continue on the road to recovery, the leaders, staff and advisors at the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Small Business Development Center agreed that we needed to focus on these small businesses and offer resources that will help them not just survive in San Luis Obispo County, but thrive.

I am thrilled to announce that last week, the Cal Poly CIE Small Business Development Center launched our mid-summer campaign, Moving Main Street Forward. Moving Main Street Forward is a focused effort toward bringing small businesses the resources they need to thrive in San Luis Obispo County.

At the forefront of the effort is a beefed-up roster of 35 consultants with a wide range of backgrounds, from seasoned CFOs to veteran marketing gurus to merchandising experts.

These consultants are available at no cost to SBDC clients. They can help Main Street businesses navigate challenges against the cornerstone of their business, from financial forecasting to sales projections. Other keystone services are also available, including business-focused seminars with topics like how to use QuickBooks, establishing and growing company culture, or how to certify as a woman-owned business.

We are fortunate at our SBDC, in particular, to counsel a wide range of businesses, from startups to growth-stage tech companies seeking funding. At this juncture especially, it is important that we focus on the small-business community, because without them there is no proverbial Main Street.

• Judy Mahan is director of the Cal Poly Luis Obispo Small Business Development Center and incubator director of the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.