Insurgent Brewery Co. in Chino Valley was named the first-ever winner of the Makeover of a Lifetime as part of the Yavapai College Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) new Small Business Makeover program, according to a news release.
On Friday, March 12, members of the Yavapai College SBDC Team, Yavapai College Film and Cinematography crew, and Chino Valley Economic Development Project Manager Maggie Tidaback surprised Laura and Rob Valenzuela at their Chino Valley brewery. They announced to the couple that the Yavapai County chamber executives and economic development officers had selected Insurgent Brewing Co. as the first Yavapai College SBDC Makeover of a Lifetime winner in the Small Business Makeover program.
With many small businesses severely burdened or even shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Yavapai College Small Business Development Center, which operates as part of the Regional Economic Development Center, launched the Small Business Makeover program in January to address this ongoing need.
“Thanks to new funding we received from the CARES Act, we were able to bring additional resources to help us plan and launch this as a pilot program for new clients,” SBDC Director Jeri Denniston said in the news release. “Our goal is to expand this program to all SBDC clients next year as another set of tools and resources to help small businesses thrive.”
Insurgent Brewing Co. happens to be one of the many businesses affected by the pandemic as Rob said the business was in the process of moving to a different unit in the same building, which is located on the southwest corner of Highway 89 and Road 2 North. In a way, Rob admitted that they lucked out since the new unit the business was moving into was more spacious and allowed for better social distancing. However, they were still required to only offer takeout at different points throughout the pandemic.
“We feel very honored and it’s going to help us out a lot,” Rob said. “Because of the experience all those folks down at the college center have on all aspects of business, it’ll help us out with marketing, signage and making things run a little more efficiently. We should be good.”
Over the next several months, the SBDC team will meet with the owners to identify one to three key challenges to help Insurgent Brewing Co. pivot, attract more customers and increase revenue. Rob said his main priority for Insurgent is to make brewing more efficient and hopes they are able upgrade their equipment at the end of all this.
“Congratulations to them for winning it. That’s awesome,” Chino Valley Mayor Jack Miller told the Chino Valley Review. “Rob and Laura are good people and they work hard. That’s just awesome.”
The Small Business Makeover program will continue through Sept. 20, during which time three more Makeover of a Lifetime winners will be selected. All applicants are entered into the “Mini Makeover Bootcamp” series with the Makeover of a Lifetime winners receiving more in-depth and hands-on help from the SBDC team, subject matter experts and other resources.
All participants will receive one-on-one confidential coaching with SBDC consultants in addition to access to training, tools, and other resources to address their specific needs. Three more application deadlines are set for March 31, April 30, and May 31. As of March 15, 22 business owners from a wide variety of industries have applied for the Small Business Makeover program.
The next Makeover of a Lifetime winner will be selected the first week of April from the next round of applicants who apply before March 31. Visit mybusinessmakeover.com/apply to fill out an application. Eligibility is reserved for small business owners with fewer than 500 employees and revenue less than $15
They must be structured as a for-profit entity, have operated their enterprise for at least three years, and have not received active coaching from the SBDC in the past five years. Business owners who contacted the SBDC once or twice last year for assistance with disaster funding would still be eligible if they did not receive ongoing coaching on their business operations