Who says you can't start a new career when you're 50 or older? A local Northeast Ohio program, Encore Entrepreneur Initiative, is helping women set their dreams in motion at a time when many anticipated retiring or just slowing down.
I was invited to participate in the first cohort of this program in the fall of 2017 and learned the basics of setting up a business. It was a little overwhelming, at first, however, I was encouraged by the other members in the cohort as well as the facilitators. One of the most important things I learned was it wasn't enough to have just a good product. Food businesses have a notoriously high fail rate due to any number of factors; I didn't want to be one of these statistics.
Every week I'd race across town after frantically dashing out of my office (which most days seemed impossible) to class. Much of what I'd heard in class wasn't new, however, what resonated was the belief that if I really wanted to do this, I could get help.
As the oldest member in the cohort, I felt that if I was going to start a business, I'd better not waste any more time. As my Dad used to say "put the pedal to the metal" to accelerate.
I followed up this course by enrolling in the Scratchmade Incubator program hosted by the Small Business Development Center at Lorain County Community College. Eye opening and a little scary, however, I felt encouraged that I should proceed. There are so many steps from the concept of a business to actual reality. Learned every step of way to not take shortcuts, be patient and continually not lose faith.
I had the opportunity a years ago to talk with Megan Gallagher from WKYC/Ch 3 about my "new" business. The interview takes place at the office of the Women's Business Center in Cleveland, and includes now Director Nicole Liatos.
The segment is called Possible U.
When I look back at this interview, I was still naive as to all the moving parts of a business. In 2020, no one could have foreseen what a global pandemic meant. It changed me to become more fluid and adaptive. And I had the time to finally do a deep dive into building my brand into something special. Possibility U was just the beginning and aptly describes my journey.
Pat Bennett is the founder and President of Pat's Granola, a Cleveland based food company. Pat's Granola is sold online at www.patsgranola.com and is also available at several Northeast Ohio businesses including:
Troubadour Coffee Roasters www.troubadourcoffeeroasters.com
Sports and Spine Physical Therapy www.sportspine.com
Local Flavors Shoppe www.localflavors.net
Rittman Orchards and Farm Market www.rittmanorchards.com
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport www.clevelandairport.com
Locle Box www.loclebox.com
Market Wagon Northeast Ohio www.marketwagon.com
Made Cleveland www.madecleveland.com
Mister Brisket www.misterbrisket.com
Nature's Oasis Lakewood www.naturesoasis.com
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