Taking care of business: New program to offer training to resource agencies

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Dalida Bollig, left, chief executive officer of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction, and Lisa Mills, behavioral health strategies manager for Mesa County, collaborated on a new program offering business training to help community resource agencies better manage their operations. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)

Lisa Mills admires the passion and commitment the people who run community resource agencies and institutions bring to their missions to help others.

“They’re more heart than anything else,” says Mills, behavioral health strategies manager for Mesa County.

But those people also could benefit, she says, from more knowledge of the management techniques that more typically apply to businesses — the accounting, budgeting and planning that sustain operations and also would better equip them to take advantage of the availability of increased funding.

That’s where Dalida Bollig believes the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction can help in providing training and why she’s so excited about a new collaboration she expects will not only help meet community needs, but also create jobs and foster economic development. “It’s a win-win for everyone,” says Bollig, chief executive officer of the center.

It’s also a first-of-its-kind program that could serve as a model for efforts elsewhere in Colorado, she says.

Registration is under way for the first group of participants for the first of two training programs scheduled for this year. Each program will offer eight weeks of training and an additional eight weeks of one-on-one consulting. The programs are free.

Mills says community resource agencies and institutions traditionally depend on grants to fund their operations and consequently suffer through feast or famine cycles. But the settlement of lawsuits against the opioid drug industry has provided what she terms as “quite significant” long-term funding for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery programs.

It’s a matter, Mills says, of how agencies can increase their capacities and develop sustainable operations. Looking at those operations from a business management perspective could help, she says. “Business thinking is a very different process.

Bollig says the Business Incubator Center provides free and low-cost training and consulting as part of the services and programs offered there. Moreover, the entreprenuers who take advantage of those services tend to enjoy long-term success, she says. Most of their businesses remain in operation five years after starting.

That training and consulting also can help those who run community resource agencies, including nonprofits, Bollig says.

The training will begin with intake interviews to introduce participants to the program and identify the specific challenges they face with their operations.

Subsequent sessions at the Business Incubator Center will cover such topics as business planning, corporate governance, operating plans and procedures, monitoring and evaluation, budgeting, credentialing, human resources management and applying what participants learn to their operations. The program will continue with one-on-one consulting and implementation.

Jeff Engle, director of the Small Business Development Center at the Business Incubator Center, will work with participants as will other members of the team at the center, Bollig says. Outside experts also will assist with the program.

Mills says one of the main goals of the effort is to help agencies and institutions scale up their operations to increase their capacities to serve clients, but do so in a way that’s sustainable over the long run. The needs, Mills says, are great.

Bollig says the program will not only help meet needs in the community, but also foster economic development. As agencies and institutions grow, they’ll hire more people. That kind of effort fits within the mission of the center to improve the strength and sustainability of business operations, she says.

The team at the center is excited to launch the program, she says.

If the program works as expected in Mesa County, it could be replicated elsewhere in Colorado, she says.

Mills says the people who run community resource agencies and institutions and bring passion and commitment to their missions are eager to add to those attributes business acumen. “They’re very excited.”

For applications and more information about the business training program for community resource agencies, log on to https://tinyurl.com/adw2bhv4 or contact the Business Incubator Center at 243-5242 or frontdesk@gjincubator.org.