Clients relocated to Cornville, Arizona, from California and restarted their drilling and construction business. Clients generally obtain large contracts with utility companies across northern Arizona and neighboring states and use union workers.
SBDC supported clients with general planning, and accessing capital through the VVREO micro loan program. Clients needed support with bookkeeping, accounting, and the Quickbooks software. SBDC coached clients through the business plan writing process, financial forecasting, and loan preparation and application process.
In 1988, the owner of Red Hill Farms LLC, Kenneth Bingham, knew that there hadn't been much production improvement within the agriculture industry to ensure forages such as alfalfa were holding nutrients. Mr. Bingham came up with a bold and innovative project that would hold nutritional value and increase the yield and quality of forages.
The idea was to decrease the time delay that it took to dry and ultimately obtain high-quality products. Therefore, the 1st concept of a dryer came to fruition, a facility that housed three dryers. However, this concept had several costly issues like handling, loading, and uploading the alfalfa in/out of the facility. Based on this research, the project evolved into having the dryer on a trailer instead of a facility. The trailer concept process will take the forges directly from being cut to instantly being loaded into a truck without touching the ground. The new technology will improve drying forages from 4-5 days to only taking four hours and ensuring high-quality product.
However, with the new concept, this innovative entrepreneur faced a challenge: funding. The capital was needed to cover costs to fine-tune the research to pinpoint the exact formula for the dryer to work at its highest potential, and funding was required to cover the expenses for the first prototype. Therefore, in 2013, Mr. Bingham sought the support of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Arizona Western College to obtain assistance to overcome this enormous challenge.
SBDC has assisted this passionate pioneer in various areas; some solutions provided were tools and resources to draft a business plan and financial projection to pitch to potential investors. With the assistance of SBDC, easy-to-read and understandable financial projections were created so that the entrepreneur was equipped to present to investors effectively. The entrepreneur pitched to over 25+ potential investors. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the project was paused.
In 2022, Mr. Bingham was ready to pick back up and return to SBDC to continue to obtain assistance with the project. Due to the lapse in time, SBDC assisted Mr. Bingham in updating his business plan and financials to reflect market changes. In addition, to updating the business plan, SBDC provided information for state and local leaders within agriculture and other entities that assist small businesses to assist Mr. Bingham in this venture. It was recommended that Mr. Bingham communicate with Directors of Agriculture from the local colleges and universities. He needed resources to help him with the final steps in his dryer formula process. Furthermore, SBDC provided an overview regarding obtaining a patent and grants (the project is currently pending its patent).
Scott began his business venture and, like many startups, found himself overwhelmed and needing assistance. He stopped his operation and contacted the EAC SBDC to help him navigate the complicated process of working with the USDA to develop an HACCP Plan for his locally sourced beef jerky.
"Torey and Eric were holding my hand every step of the way, even with some of my dumb questions from time to time. If ever I had any questions Eric and Torey would have a resource within 10 minutes or less. Very grateful for the opportunity to learn with them."
Scott's Business Analyst, Torey Cranford, worked with him as he navigated the process with the USDA, competed in the Moonshot Pitch Competition to clarify and solidify his vision for his company, and worked on securing a $20,000 Southeastern Arizona Microloan for him to use toward the purchase of equipment and retrofitting his rented business space to bring it into compliance.
Scott received his microloan while also managing to negotiate a sponsorship with a local flooring business, as well as a donation of building materials from Home Depot. He is so proud of how far he's come and so grateful for the Eastern Arizona SBDC's assistance and the confidence he has gained through working with them.