The COVID-19 pandemic has presented immense challenges for society and overcoming them will take collaboration across our diverse communities. By sharing our experiences and knowledge, we can find innovative solutions that help us pivot, adapt and thrive. In fall 2020, ASU Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute’s Peoria Forward, the City of Peoria and televëda teamed up to meet this need with the Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship interactive virtual series. This project brought together local entrepreneurs and community figures to discuss how they met the challenges of the pandemic, how they are staying engaged and what resources are available to help. Community members were able to watch as well as participate in the live-streamed conversation through televëda’s on-line learning platform.
This four-part series was also recorded so that the important lessons and resources can continue to be shared with the community. Links to these videos will be available through posts in this blog. Check out the below list of sessions to see which theme interests you and keep an eye out for the upcoming posts.
- Part 1: Meet your neighbor, the secret entrepreneur (available in this blog post!)
- Part 2: Authors, books and innovation
- Part 3: The artists and makers of Peoria
- Part 4: A look to the future
Image: Kristin Slice, Peoria Forward, interviewing Mitch Goldberg, co-owner of Beginners Edge Sports Training (BEST), in Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship: Part 1
In the first part of this series, we introduce two Peoria-based small business owners who have used entrepreneurial thinking to tackle the challenges of implementing social distancing guidelines. First, Mitch Goldberg, co-owner of Beginners Edge Sports Training (BEST), begins by introducing his business which teaches children the skills they need to play sports together. Mitch explains how entrepreneurial thinking first allowed him to identify this market niche. He had noticed that when children first begin playing sports, they often do not have experience with the basic mechanics of a sport (catching/throwing a ball, knowing where to run) or even the focus to maintain engagement. He also noticed that team coaches often do not have the bandwidth to work on these foundational skills. Mitch then explains how he was able to leverage this same creative, innovative mindset to adjust his business’s training procedures to continue operating during the pandemic.
Next, Jeremiah Gracia, co-owner of Revolu Taqueria, shares his journey working with food and becoming an entrepreneur. He describes coming up working in restaurants and finding inspiration from street food. This includes how his entrepreneurial mindset not only led him to open his own restaurant but to also identify a market niche from the area’s lack of authentic Mexican street food. Jeremiah then explains how he was able to leverage this entrepreneurial thinking to completely change the structure of his business and reopen for business. He concludes with inspiring stories of the community coming together to support small businesses and the power of giving back.
Video link: Click here to watch Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship: Part 1
Key takeaways from the interviews:
- You don’t know what you don’t know. You need to get out there to see what works and doesn’t work.
- Aim to fail small—maximize learning and minimize risk.
- Be kind to each other
- Get involved with the community and give back
Check back next month for the next part in the Exploring Peoria Entrepreneurship series!