The only program of its kind in the Olympic Peninsula, the KCR Business Education Support and Training (BE$T) program prepares graduates for starting and/or managing a successful Kitsap County business.
Tovie Wilkins, a BE$T program graduate, is the proud owner of the Barber Lounge in downtown Bremerton. “I wanted to learn business principles that would help me run a successful business and I achieved that goal through the BE$T program.”
And, Tovie is not the only budding entrepreneur to complete the BE$T training program. BE$T has helped a wide array of local businesses, including heating and repair, a handcrafted confectionary shop, CPR instruction, cleaning services, vegetarian catering, website development, and more.
These businesses represent the self-improvement and personal growth of their owners, but they also mean retail spaces are rented, staff are being hired, money is earned and spent locally, and that the economic development of Kitsap County is benefiting.
Students who are financially able pay program tuition, but funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Kitsap County, and the City of Bremerton, the BE$T program also provides a pathway to business ownership to low-income residents providing subsidized tuition to those who qualify.
A cornerstone of the BE$T program is its mentoring program. Supported by a business-experienced advisory committee, volunteer mentors and coaches, the program offers participants advanced training, one-on-one counseling, and micro-loan advising.
“The mentoring aspect of the program was so very helpful. The mentors who provide training and coaching helped me to realize that I’m not alone and that if others can be successful at starting a business, so can I.”
To learn more about the BE$T program visit the KCR BE$T page.