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Small Business Center fuels entrepreneurs’ dreams


Starting and growing a business is about combining courage and dreams with the right knowledge. That’s why WCTC’s Small Business Center is dedicated to providing affordable courses, free one-on-one counseling, networking events and more for current and aspiring small business owners.

Jayne Laste, owner of Jayne Laste Design Solutions, designs print products for a wide variety of clients on a national scale. “At a career crossroads five years ago, I knew I had the talent and basic know-how to provide competitive value and services,” says Laste, “but as I started my business in 2013, I knew I needed guidance and a push in the right direction.” Laste began her journey with WCTC’s Small Business Certificate and has since continued working through several for-credit marketing courses and certificates.

“The staff has been amazing,” says Laste. “They’ve been in the field themselves and know firsthand the challenges small business owners face. They answer real-world questions with real-world answers.”

The Small Business Center works with businesses of all shapes and sizes, but Laste has found plenty of insight specific to her goals. “I have realized that marketing and graphic design are interwoven skill sets for businesses,” says Laste. “I understand the connection in which good design works with marketing efforts to further a business’s greater goal.”

The Small Business Center is a resource for anyone, regardless of experience level or area of expertise. For Harrison Keyes, the road to owning a small business has been long and winding. “I have had an interest in motor vehicles ever since I rode in my first go-kart,” says Keyes. His journey into small business ownership started back in 2000, when he got a job at Jerry’s Automotive. He moved his way up from sweeping the floors to head technician, dreaming along the way of eventually owning his own business.

Keyes graduated from WCTC’s ACDelco TCEP program (now Automotive Technology - GM ASEP). “This two-year associate degree program helped me with all of the basic skills and knowledge I would need to succeed in the auto repair industry,” says Keyes. He has been an active member on the program’s advisory board ever since.

After pursuing his goal of business ownership for some time, Keyes grew frustrated trying to sort through the overwhelming amount of information on his own. He decided to reach out to his alma mater and was connected immediately with the Small Business Center. “I knew I was on the right track with the Small Business Certificate program,” he said.

Beginning the program in January of 2018, Keyes graduated on May 10 and bought a business on May 29. “The teachers were very knowledgeable and capable of adapting every class to meet the needs of each individual student, which is pretty impressive when you think about all the possible industries the students could be in,” says Keyes. “I could not have done that without their help.”

The individuals served by WCTC’s Small Business Center are a constant source of inspiration. Through thoughtfully designed curriculum, individualized attention, scholarship opportunities and more, the Small Business Center is able to meet its clients wherever they are on their journey and help them achieve their unique goals.

From WCTC IMPACT, Spring 2019 edition