By JEFF WEISS

Contributing Reporter

Everyone has a support group these days; everyone except entrepreneurs. Enter Masterminds, a new program the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce is rolling out this September, designed to help business owner and managers more effectively manage and grow their businesses.

"There's a real need for it," Wayne Adelstein, the president and CEO of the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce said. "When you're a small business person you often get bogged down in the day to day issues and forget to look at the big picture. This is the sort of program that allows one to see other perspectives. It's a program I've been thinking about doing for some time."

Masterminds will be largely comprised of small business owners meeting weekly to exchange business ideas while receiving business counseling in a group setting. Each week, group facilitators (Masterminds) will present information on topics ranging from how to increase sales, how to attract and retain great performers, how to determine business valuation, understanding personal and professional branding and realizing a return on investment. The SBDC Masterminds themselves will consist of trained counselors chosen for expertise in their professions.

The weekly one hour program has already been tested at the Small Business Development Center in Santa Clarita and has been met with significant success.

"We had a recent attendee who came in with the idea that she wanted to open a clothing boutique. She was very driven but at the same time, she wanted some confidence building," Paul De La Cerda, the director of small business development for the SBDC, said. "She needed help getting her credit in line, help with her portfolio and business plan and we were able to aid her with that, as well as evaluating the risk factor involved in starting a business like that. Eventually, we got her off on her way and she ended up getting a $144,000 loan package to start her new business."

According to De La Cerda, entrepreneurs' tendency to make bold risky decisions is exactly why they need a viable support group to help ground them.

"Entrepreneurs are a different breed and they're all a little crazy. You have to be to be willing to take such risks. But that's precisely why they need support groups," De La Cerda said. "They have support groups for virtually every kind of hobby and illness yet there are few for entrepreneurs." Masterminds allows small business owners to share solutions for their problems. It's gotten great results since we started in January. It's not an opportunity to network, it's an opportunity to share business exchanges with one another."

The Masterminds program at the NVRCC will meet at 7:30 a.m. every Thursday morning starting in September. The cost to participate in the 52-week program is $100 paid in advance, plus $20 per month paid monthly.

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Filipino Chamber Holds Installation

The San Fernando Valley Filipino-American Chamber of Commerce celebrated its Induction of Officers and Inaugural Ball on July 27 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills with dinner and dancing.

Present at the event was Councilman Richard Alarcon as well as representatives of other dignitaries from the offices of the governor, the mayor, Councilman Dennis Zine, Tony Cardenas, Howard Berman, Brad Sherman and George Runner.

Members of the Filipino general consulate were also present along with people from the Filipino media.

The officers who were inducted were Leo Maranan as president, Rick Rolda as 1st vice president, Em Roberts as 2nd vice president, Mary Ann Omega as secretary, Vangie Tabberrah as treasurer and Noel Omega, out-going president, as advisor.

This is the second installation of officers for this chamber, which was established in 2001, the first occurring in 2005.

Newly appointed president Leo Maranan said: "I want to improve the membership of the chamber and also help small businesses, not only for Filipinos but for everybody."

Rossana Woo