Jacqueline Summers has over ten years experience in being a part of successfully building a small business and has a Master of Education in Adult Education from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Currently she works in the University of Alaska Anchorage Business Enterprise Institute and is part of its mission to develop and diversify the economy of Alaska. She is passionate about assisting small businesses, and in addition to her work, has recently volunteered her time to help entrepreneurs at the Anchorage Mountain View Library, the Anchorage King Career Center, and Anchorage Startup Weekend events.
After completing yoga teacher training in 2008, Kristiann Maclean developed her business, Mamanamaste Yoga, to focus on providing gentle yoga to prenatal clients, new mothers, and others drawn to beginning or gentle-level classes. She successfully built a following of clients who join her at Spirit Path Yoga or at classes offered at schools and work locations.
Kristiann recently completed a 500-hour Master Yoga Training program and has also expanded into offering gentle classes and one-on-one assistance to in-hospital cardiac and pulmonary patients at Providence Hospital. These patients use yoga to regain their strength and mobility and often continue to practice, even after they leave the hospital, to increase their overall wellness.
Paxaro Solutions is working with Kristiann to realign and rebrand her business based on her additional training and the new direction her business has taken. Currently under development, the rebranding will include a business name, logo, website, business plan and review of business operations. Providing yoga is as much a calling as it is a business, but the goal is for Kristiann to meet the wellness needs of her clients while creating a thriving entrepreneurial venture.
"HOW TO START A SMALL BUSINESS" CLASSES
Many new immigrants and low-income residents make their homes and work in Anchorage’s Mountain View neighborhood. Although a vibrant and thriving community, the Mountain View neighborhood has the lowest income and the highest unemployment in Anchorage, Alaska. Many residents have the ideas and the initiative to start businesses but often find the documents and formal processes daunting. Further, many may not are not familiar with basic business management practices. Once these entrepreneurs are given information and support, they often develop innovative and needed business solutions for their community.
To assist these motivated potential business owners, Paxaro Solutions has teamed up with Americorps VISTA volunteer Sarah McBryde, and the University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Economic Development to offer Startin g a Business classes at the Mountain View Library. Offered monthly, the first classes were offered exclusively to women to provide a culturally supportive space in which they could learn, ask questions, and explore their business ideas. Future classes will be open to all residents and will continue to provide an initial step for understanding how to successfully explore and launch business ideas.
Jacqueline has created an accessible, customized curriculum to introduce business concepts and provides an open classroom environment so students can comfortably ask questions, understand legal and tax obligations, and be guided through concepts about preliminary market research and small business management. This allows potential nascent Mountain View business owners the opportunity to have the tools to build a stable foundation for their businesses. Through her work with the Starting a Business classes, Jacqueline promotes a core value of Paxaro Solutions in which supporting others provides opportunities for everyone.
Jacqueline Summers wants to make sure the next generation of business owners have the business acumen and capabilities to make their ideas successful. Gaining early experience ensures future business-owners in the King Career Center High School’s Entrepreneurship and Enterprise class will have advantages others don’t. Started by teacher Ray Voley in the of spring 2014, the class acts like a mini-incubator by having students create semester-long startup businesses. It leads them through all the steps of starting a business including writing a business plan, market research, prototyping, selling, financial management, marketing, and publishing annual reports.
Students gain business experience in finding a market niche, product pricing, operations, accounting, and customer relations, but also learn soft skills such as good communication, valuing each member of a team, and successfully responding to unpredictable events. In a reflection at the end of the semester one student wrote:
It was the ultimate team building exercises, and I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the freedom we were give to really explore our boundaries and practice actual business strategies. From the business cards to the website design, it felt like we were actually gaining useful skills and experiencing a taste of what it would truly be like to run a business.
As an ongoing Entrepreneursh ip and Enterprise Advisory Board member, Jacqueline is inspired by the great energy, originality, and applied learning resulting from students’ experiences. As part of her role, she mentors students who aspire to be entrepreneurs, provides expertise and contacts, and helps students practice their developing business skills. Watching students discover their capabilities and what they can achieve is always a “valuable return on investment”.