Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

RENEWBIZ Grants …back again!

Revitalize Vision PlanKern County Planning department is making available again the RENEWBIZ grant in 2014, available to businesses in Mojave for exterior improvements. The grant is available to all businesses and nonprofit organizations in Mojave’s “visioning” area downtown. The grants are awarded up to $10,000, and businesses can apply for multiple grants. Eligible projects could include: signs, painting, landscaping, awnings, fencing, windows, façade improvements, and infrastructure upgrades. 

Many businesses in Mojave have already received grants awarded in 2013, including T&R Hobbies and the thrift shop building on Sierra Highway, and the Assemblies of God church on M Street. Last year, Kern County awarded grants to 100% of the applicants from Mojave, and The Mojave Foundation strongly encourages business owners to fill out the application this year. The Chamber of Commerce will be offering workshops on how to fill out the grant application. Email the Chamber at  revitalize@visitmojave.com for more information.

Coin Wash Reopened!

Coin Wash MikeMay 7: The Mojave Coin wash is now open again, and the burglar has been identified by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. The Coin Wash has been closed since April 7th when a burglar destroyed several coin dispensers and washers and stole several hundred dollars of quarters. The Coin Wash is now under a new management, and open longer hours. The new manager, Michael Smoot, a long-time Mojave resident, is leading a new generation of young Entrepreneurs in Mojave. Mr. Smoot, 32, spent the last two weeks repairing the damaged equipment in the building and restoring previously broken dryers to accommodate more customers than ever before. Mr. Smoot will also be on site at all times to ensure that all customers have a safe and pleasant experience, and to guard against future vandals.

Coin Wash MamabearThe community has universally rejoiced at the return of the coin wash. “I am so happy to have the Coin Wash back” said local resident, Ethel Brooks, “One man came in on Monday when they first reopened and did what looked like three weeks of laundry! We’re going to keep Mike on FULL TIME!” Other residents rejoiced in the restored sense of pride. “I had to have somebody else to wash my clothes, it was embarrassing” said long-time resident Mama-Bear, “I want to wash my own clothes, thank you very much!”

The Mojave Foundation applauds Mr. Smoot for being the first of a new generation of entrepreneurs in Mojave, and restoring a critical service to the community. We also commend the local shopkeepers and residents who identified the suspected burglar to the Kern County Sheriff’s.

Coin Wash Burglarized – Closed Until Caught

CoinWash Male Tatoo neckApril 14: The Mojave Coin wash was burglarized twice last week – once on Saturday April 5th, and again on Monday April 7th, and will be closed until the suspect is brought to justice. Both burglaries were carried out by the same male pictured here, as captured by surveillance video, and occurred in broad daylight around 11:30 a.m. The suspect was seen on video beating the coin dispenser with a crow bar for about 17 minutes on Saturday, stealing approximately $245 worth of coins. The suspect returned again on Monday and continued to beat one of the washer machines late in the morning until it yielded $160 worth of coins.

CoinWash Male Tatoo armThe suspect appears in the surveillance video to have light or Caucasian skin, in his 20s, shaved head or buzz cut, muscular build, and tattoos on his forearms, hands and neck. He was wearing a light blue polo shirt with black horizontal stripes and sun glasses over his head, and changed into a white long-sleeved shirt, and again into a black hoodie. During the burglary he carried a reddish backpack with plaid pattern, buttoned in the front. The suspect was also seen interacting with passers-by outside the store and is believed to either live in Mojave, or at least know people who live in Mojave.

CoinWash Female+BackpackThe suspect also had some help. There was a female in the coin wash acting as a lookout. She is described as being Caucasian, in her 20s, with red hair, thin, and wearing a pink-ish shirt with a floral pattern. There was also a secondary lookout stationed outside the Coin Wash, who was either African-American or Hispanic, on a bicycle, in dark clothing.

CoinWash Male Black Hoodie

The Coin Wash, a Mojave landmark, will be closed until the suspects are caught. The owner of the Coin Wash and Mojave Chamber of Commerce are offering a $1500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any of these individuals. Residents are asked to contact the Sheriff with any information at 661-824-7130, or the owner of the Coin Wash, Christy, at 661-803-7982.

The Mojave Foundation takes this theft personally, and considers it an assault on our residents who rely on this coin wash for their children and families, and our businesses who have invested in our community. We will work tirelessly to bring these suspects to justice, and encourage all residents to volunteer with our local Sheriff’s office through in our Citizen Service Unit (CSU). We are also fundraising for a community surveillance system and street lights centered on the intersection of K Street and Inyo. Anyone interested in supporting our efforts can make a tax-deductible donation on our website, or click here to fill out an application for CSU.

Roberts Challenges Entrepreneurs to Adopt a New Thought Process

Raimone 20140115January 20: Mojave’s bi-weekly Entrepreneurship Workshop kicked off again with Raimone Roberts of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Los Angeles. With approximately two dozen in attendance from all over the Antelope Valley, Raimone challenged residents and small business owners to rethink their vision for 2014. “Where will you be on January 16, 2015?” he asked the audience, and gave them “homework” to rethink what they did last year and challenge themselves in 2014. Highlights of last Wednesday’s meeting were to Set Goals, Dream Big, and Imagine.
1) What is your business, product or service?
2) Get mission critical – what is your mission? Has to be simple, clear and practical.
3) Focus on a better business. Build and strengthen your skill set.
4) Daily Habits – Are they progressing you or hindering you.
5) Relationships – People do not get where they are alone
6) Network – Build relationships, build community

Roberts went into detail on each step of his challenge, and looks forward to seeing what entrepreneurs come back with next week – giving entrepreneurs a direction and goal to focus their energies. There were real estate owners in this week’s meeting, potential investors, Career Services representatives, and small business mentors – all willing and eager to provide financial and inspirational support to aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the Antelope Valley.

The Mojave Foundation is dedicated to proving aspiring entrepreneurs with the support and resources necessary to start their own business – right here in Mojave, and the Antelope Valley. Our classes are free and open to the public, and a great way to network and meet other people with possible resources to compliment your business idea. Our next workshop is Wednesday January 29th at 6pm at Anthony’s Grill in Mojave. If you have any questions, call Mike or Susan Fortuna at 661-824-2275, or mojavesusan@gmx.com.

Stoken’s Donuts Celebrates 5-YEAR Aniversary

StokensJanuary 3: “I can’t believe it’s been five years” says store owner James Stokes, “things were really rough for those first two and a half years, but we never lost our ‘personal touch’, and building a relationship with the community, and we really built up a loyal customer base here in Mojave”.  Stoken’s, a Mojave landmark, has been recently awarded “Business of the Year” by the Mojave Chamber of Commerce, and ranked number 1 on Yelp, and has seen business steadily expand since emerging from the ashes of the financial crisis in 2009. “It’s amazing what you can achieve with the right people, and passion, and we have a great staff that is passionate about quality and preserving that relationship with our customers. Stokens, located one block east of Sierra highway on Belshaw Street, has become the central meeting place in Mojave for community discussion and social gatherings. Stokes has built up an especially loyal relationship among workers from the airport and renewable energy companies, whom Stokes credits with keeping him afloat during the rough times. “We try to get to know each of our customers who come in the shop, and we ask what they need and what they want to see.”

Local residents held their breath in 2009 when Jame Stokes purchased the old library, an historic Mojave landmark. But Stoken’s was universally acclaimed when he preserved the classic ambiance of the building while serving quality food and paying homage to Mojave’s history. Stoken’s, generally known for its high quality sandwiches and natural ingredients, has become a mainstay of motorists throughout southern California. “We get a lot of the traffic between L.A. and Mammoth,” cites Stokes, “and we want people to learn a little about Mojave while they’re here.” Stokes, a local job creator with five full-time employees, sees opportunity in Mojave. “We want to keep growing, responsibly, with the community – and we think there’s a lot of potential in this town.”

The Mojave Foundation celebrates Stoken’s success, and their entrepreneurial zeal. We appreciate Stoke’s commitment to the community – demonstrating that there is a market for high-quality service and offering to share that success with other aspiring entrepreneurs. We wish James and Leigh and his staff even more success in 2014.

Next Entrepreneurship Workshop: Thursday, Nov 21th

Workshop RaimoneThe Mojave Foundation is proud to continue offering these free informational sessions to the public, helping aspiring business owners to draft a business plan, secure financing, select a location, and hire local employees. These workshops have already inspired several businesses to start here in Mojave, and we expect many more in the next several months. This week’s workshop will be led by Raimone Roberts of the Small Business Development Center in Los Angenles. Raimone will cover the basics of writing a financial outline for your business plan, and help entrepreneurs develop their “elevator pitch”, which is designed to help business owners clearly articulate what they do in 30 seconds or less. The next class will be at Anthony’s Grill, right next to Stater Bros., and will start at 6pm on Thursday, November 21st.

Entrepreneurship Workshop makes an Encore

JayDue 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