Due to popular demand there will be a follow up Entrepreneurship Workshop on Wednesday, Nov 6th at 6pm at Anthony’s Grill in Mojave. This week’s event will be led by Jay Thompson of the Small Business Development Center at CSU Bakersfield. Jay is a longtime business leader, mentor and coach in Kern County, and will be explaining the basics of writing a business plan. Jay will also discuss how to apply for grants and loans to help your business get started, and will be an excellent primer for his Access to Capital event later this month. Last week’s event saw 61 aspiring entrepreneurs, of which two have already started a business in Mojave! We will also cover several business models that are in dire need in Mojave that didn’t get talked about last time, such as an events/catering/movie scouting business, storage facilities, and contractor services. Our objective is to identify the talent internally, and put the tools in their hands to start a successful business in Mojave. This event is open to all residents and businesses in Mojave and the Antelope Valley. If you have any questions, call Todd Quelet at 248-835-5239, or email at Todd@MojaveFoundation.org
October 30: 100 mules, celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, arrived an the new Community Center at Mojave Air & Space Port Wednesday afternoon. The stop in Mojave marks about the half way point between the aqueduct’s main diversion dam about 10 miles north of Independence, and the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Griffith Park, which the animals are expected to reach on November 11. The wranglers and animals began the 240-mile voyage on October 18, and are approximately 13 days into a 27-day voyage. The historical and artistic event is the project of Lauren Bon, of Metabolic Studios, and designed to foster conversations about water and water consumption in the Ownes Valley and California. The physical walk will also be accompanied by an artistic audio transmission of water running at the source of the aqueduct, that will be performed at stops along the way. The animals will be available for public viewing on Thursday, October 31, from 12 to 2 pm.
October 27: A film crew Los Angeles came to Mojave last Friday to shoot an action scene for a small independent film. The film, about a video game that comes alive, featured a team of military special operations forces as they jump through smoke and move with technical and tactical precision. The actors were all former Army Rangers and Navy Seals, with multiple combat deployments, and now work in Hollywood on feature films and video games. The film crew consisted of over 20 young film makers and college students, working on a shoe string budget to produce a project they felt passionately about. The scenes were filmed in an abandoned aluminum extruding plant in Mojave, offering one of the most unique locations for a film that is supposed to take place in a war zone. “You can’t find stuff like this anywhere” said the movie’s director, Karl Richter. “This warehouse and the desert backdrop… this location was just perfect.” One actor even suggested that land owners in Mojave advertise their properties in Hollywood, and that Mojave start a catalog of interesting locations here in Mojave. The Mojave Foundation would like to thank Mr. Richter, Russell Greene, and all the staff and actors who came to Mojave to film this movie, and we look forward to helping other film makers find interesting locations here in Mojave to make their movie magic.
October 22: The Mojave Foundation launched its first Entrepreneurship Workshop on Tuesday night, featuring Raimone Roberts of the Small Business Development Center for the Antelope Valley. The event was standing-room-only as over 60 residents packed into Anthony’s Grill in Mojave late into the night. The higher than expected turnout is evidence of the intense desire for more businesses and amenities in Mojave, and the incredible energy and enthusiasm among local residents trying to start their own businesses. Mr. Roberts, a sucessful entrepreneur in his own right, has helped hundreds of people throughout the Antelope Valley start their own business.
The meeting covered a variety of small-business basics that will help any aspiring entrepreneur or existing business owner be more successful: “what is my business plan, who is my market, how can I work with limited capital, how am I going to make money?” The meeting also covered 10 specific business plans desperately needed in Mojave, such as a coffee shop, restaurant/lounge, storage facilities, mobile laundry/dry cleaning, movie theater/drive-in, solar-panel-cleaning and contractor services. Some residents brought their own ideas, or thought of new ones, and Mr. Roberts helped to refine these ideas into viable business plans, and even covered funding options to help residents turn their ideas into reality. “Im ready to get started TOMORROW!” said Keith Parks, a local resident intent on starting a mobile car wash. With 2,500 engineers and professionals on the Mojave Air & Space Port, and 20,000 vehicles traveling Sierra Highway every day, we see plenty of opportunity for Keith and other businesses to get started.
This marks the first of a series of bi-weekly Entrepreneurship Workshops which will cover a specific aspect of business, such as marketing, or finance/fundraising, pricing strategies, or perfecting an elevator pitch. Future meetings will include Mr. Roberts, as well as other small business experts such as Jay Thompson of the Small Business Development Center at CSU-Bakersfield. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, November 6 at 6pm, at Anthony’s Grill in Mojave. Anyone interested in attending should RSVP no later than Monday, November 4th by emailing Todd Quelet at “Todd@MojaveFoundation.org”.
The Mojave Foundation recognizes that there is an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurship and prosperity in Mojave, and we are convinced that we have the talent, and drive internally, to create a new generation of small businesses in this community. Our objective is to put the tools in the hands of local residents to pursue and capture their dreams, and develop local talent to generate greater economic activity.
October 17: Mojave is fortunate enough to have a local resident who has single-handedly cleanup up six empty lots in the last three months. John Davis, 53, pictured left, cleaned up his latest lot on K Street this week, generating 20 garbage bags of trash and yard waste in the process. Local residents helped take some of the bags to the dump this weekend, but John labored over 2 days to clean, rake and pick up all the trash in this lot. John, who is currently unemployed, typically labors for days at a time – FOR FREE. “I get bored” says John. “I just want my neighborhood to be nice.” Mojave has approximately 45 empty lots in our downtown area, and John has cleaned up or helped to clean up most of them. John’s selfless contributions are critical to preventing Mojave from sliding into disrepair, and setting the stage for future investment. The Mojave Foundation is proud to highlight John’s efforts and work with him on future cleanups. Next time you see an empty lot, you can thank John for keeping it from getting out of control. Next time you see John, go ahead and say thanks! …even better, give him a hand, or give him a job!
Saturday, October 12: Mojave residents came out in force again to clean up another empty lot overrun by trash and flammable debris and tumbleweeds. This weekend’s cleanup was sponsored by Revitalize Mojave, and led by Tim Kuster. The cleanup, which took place over two days, removed 6 truckloads to the dump, and removed one of the more visible fire hazards from our downtown area. Many of the trees are still charred – vivid reminders of how close Mojave came to facing a major fire in our downtown area. Volunteers trimmed back trees that had completely blocked the sidewalk and removed a layer of rotten pine needles several inches thick, which are a leading cause of respiratory allergies and ailments in Mojave’s dry desert climate. “This stuff is hard to breath” said volunteer Doug Clipperton, “now it’s going in the bag!” The Mojave Foundation applauds this latest is a series of cleanups, and we are committed to maintaining this momentum.
Friday, October 4: Residents in Mojave may have noticed some men cleaning and boarding up a distressed property on Inyo Street last Friday. This property, kitty-corner from the elementary school, on Inyo has been a dangerous invitation for drugs and crime for years, and finally it is secure. The two men were from Kern County’s Code Compliance department, which is preparing to launch a new campaign in Mojave. “We go anywhere they tell us” according to one of the men, who arrived earlier that day from Bakersfield. The Mojave Foundation is determined to clean up and secure these vacant properties, and eventually demolish these derelict structures, which present an immediate danger to public health and safety. We look forward to working closely with Code Compliance and applaud their efforts to make Mojave a safer, more attractive place to live.
The Kern County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) has announced a new set of phone number for concerned residents to report illegal activity anonymously. Mojave residents can call 661-392-6000 to report drug activity, and 661-392-6003 to report gang activity. Mojave is at a critical juncture, where residents have a rare opportunity to reverse the rising tide of crime in Mojave once and for all. There are several events all converging right now: (1) our volunteer police squad, CSU (Citizen Service Unit) is standing up in late November, (2) Mojave Makers & Radio Shack are about to roll out an outdoor camera system under $200, (3) Drug dens like the Wagon Wheel are being taken off the street, and (4) The high-crime apartments on L & Trinity have recently been cleared, and are under renovation. NOW IS THE TIME for local residents to take ownership of their neighborhoods, and raise the cost of committing crime in Mojave. Our next Neighborhood Watch meeting is on Monday, October 7 at 6:30 p.m., and residents of Downtown Mojave are launching their own Neighborhood Watch on Tuesday, November 4th.
October 4: Local motorists on L Street have been frustrated with a menacing pot hole that has grown increasingly dangerous in the past several months. Two local residents finally had enough, and found an innovative way to fix the problem. They found a construction crew repaving another parking lot in town, and managed to scrounge several buckets of asphalt. They loaded the black stuff into a garbage can, transported it over to L Street and filled in the pothole by hand! Shawn and Casey, pictured above, have been living in Mojave for years, and are trying to make the community a safer, more attractive place to live. “We all have to work together and keep an eye out for each other” said Shawn, 30. “Some people just don’t know how to do things the right way” said Casey, 38, as he carefully puts the finishing touches on the final layer of asphalt. The Mojave Foundation commends this kind of selfless service, and is proud to highlight this next generation of can-do residents.
The Mojave Foundation is proud to sponsor a series of Entrepreneurial Workshops, starting Tuesday, October 22 at Anthony’s Grill (next to Stater Bros) at 6 p.m. Raimone Roberts of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Los Angeles is our first guest speaker, and will explain the basics of starting your own business: how to write a business plan, submit the documentation, insurance, taxes, etc. There are several business opportunities in Mojave that are desperately needed right now – a coffee shop, a cleaning service, a restaurant, a bakery, a day care, plumbing, etc. – but the paperwork and legal requirements can be daunting. Raimone will de-mistify a lot of the technical hurdles, and put the tools in your hand to confidently start your own business. We will also discus how startups can pool their resources through a “small business incubator” to take advantage of economies of scale while their idea grows and matures. Raimone is a former Air Force officer, and owner of his own consulting firm. Raimone is an expert on small business start-ups in the Antelope Valley, and has helped hundreds of small businesses get started.
This kicks off a series of bi-weekly meetings supported by Raimone and fellow SBDC expert, Jay Thompson of CSU Bakersfield. Jay is a long-time business leader in Kern County, and owner of his own financial services consulting firm. Jay is a respected leader in Kern County, and has helped numerous businesses get started here. Jay and Raimone will alternate hosting bi-weekly meetings, and each meeting will cover a different aspect of entrepreneurship – marketing, financing, taxes, business plan writing, etc. These meetings are open to ALL residents and business owners in Mojave, and designed to help entrepreneurs to start thinking about the kinds of businesses they want to start or expand into. The Mojave Foundation is working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and the Revitalize Committee to bring critical amenities and lifestyle businesses back to Mojave, which is critical to support a thriving and healthy community.