Catapult Growth Network Review
Dedicated to High-Level Business Growth in the Empire!
So many business owners start out strong, but after a while find themselves stagnating due to any number of reasons. Finding and cultivating peer coaching can be a daunting task on top of all the things a business owner has to do. So, the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) created the Catapult Business Growth Network program with the generous help of the Bank of America Foundation. This program is geared to assist experienced entrepreneurs with taking their business to the next level by connecting them with strategic development tactics and focused engaging networking opportunities.
In the commentary below, David Friedman, a 2015 graduate of CSUSB, multi-business owner and savvy entrepreneur offers his perspective on the program and his growth experience through the Catapult Business Growth Network.
My name is David Friedman. I graduated from CSUSB in 2015 with a Double-BA in Marketing and Finance. I was very involved on campus and as the saying goes, "You get out what you put in." Post-graduation, I can connect many of my entrepreneurial opportunities in life to a teacher's assistance or to the on-campus organizations that I participated in. With my cap in hand, I decided that I wanted to open a real estate investment business in the City of San Bernardino as a way to create high-paying jobs in my community. CSUSB has been non-stop supporting my endeavors in ways that I couldn't imagine. Most recently, I was invited to become a member of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship’s program named the Catapult Business Growth Network.
Learning that the program would be in-person was especially exciting as we all started to crawl out of our pandemic caves towards the beginning of 2022. Feeling a bit nervous about networking and having to put into action my rusty social skills was made easy by the warm welcome of Stacey Allis, assistant director at the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship. Name tags neatly placed on a round-table, free coffee to wake up with and the trickle of intelligent entrepreneurs into the room proved that it would be an interesting day.
Now, let's get real for a moment. I was apprehensive due to a couple of reasons. The first being that the meeting location was in Ontario instead of at CSUSB. As a selfish person who wants everything to happen in San Bernardino as a way to support local business, I really wish the venue was at least somewhere within the city limits. My second apprehension was the fast-talking, marketing-word-slinging Catapult Networking facilitator that entered the room and was to be our coach for the next 6 sessions. As most classes go, the first half was syllabus day. Cheek resting on my hand, I couldn't help but wish we could get on to the real reason we were here, to network and to learn from each other. To my surprise, after a delicious catered lunch (Thank you IECE and Bank of America Foundation), we jumped right into the action. As a budding entrepreneur, I've never had the chance to put together an organizational chart, otherwise known as an accountability chart by our facilitator, Brian. He helped explain the lingo and why having an accountability chart was important and we got to work building our own. I had the pleasure of working with several wicked smart entrepreneurs to discuss issues that I had with building my company and it seemed like everyone was really starting to open up thanks to Brian's experience in facilitating. We learned about getting "The Right People in the Right Seats" -- Something that has eluded me for some time, but as entrepreneurs, we figure it out and charge forward. Now that I had an experienced facilitator to give me clarity, and show me a proven process AND other willing entrepreneurs to hash out all of these problems, I finally felt like this Catapult group was going to help my small business elevate to its full potential. I look forward to the untapped networking power that this program brings for myself and all of the entrepreneurs who participate in it –and that was just Day 1.
After graduating college, most of us alumni expect to get the occasional email or letter asking for donations, but CSUSB has never made me feel like a number and they continue to keep in touch with me in ways that affirm my college choice. The teachers, faculty, and administration all live and die by their "Student-First" mentality and I feel it deep in my bones that I will be a proud Yote for life. Go Yotes!