By Darlene L. Williams, Bakersfield News Observer Contributing Writer

BAKERSFIELD, Ca.— Approximately 70 people attended Entrepreneur Roundtable, held Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at Employer Training Resource 1600 E. Belle Terrace Avenue from 6-8 pm. Frink Firm Founder and CEO of She Power; Arleana Waller hosted the event. Food was provided by Chef Ora of O’Mazing Event Planning.

The coaches for the event were: Attorney, Curtis Floyd; Dean of Instruction-Bakersfield College, Emmanuel Mourtzanos; CSUB Professor of Entrepreneurship, Jeremy Woods; CEO Plush Vodka, Richard and Bernadette Daley; CEO StartitUP, Goli Ameri; JP Lake, Kern Initiative for Talent and Entrepreneurship (KITE); Karen Sue Yarrow-Zuber, Bank of America, and CEO Omega Insurance, Fred Prince.

The event agenda included: Networking, Funding, Investor Pitch, Entrepreneur Roundtable, and StartitUp App.

Thanks to Bank of America, 50 free one-year scholarship subscriptions to StartitUp Entrepreneur Mentoring Services were given to small business owners wanting to grow their business and/or entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business.

Prior to the start of the evening event, Waller thanked elected officials, and game changers who support the monthly MLK Community meetings, and the Unity Food Giveaway for the southeast community.

“We’ve partnered with those who truly have a heart for the people,” Waller said, as she praised Supervisor Leticia Perez, Pastor Freddie Thomas, Isaiah Crompton and others for their continued support to the Southeast community and the MLK Initiative Project.

Bakersfield Mayor, Karen Goh and Supervisor Leticia Perez were among several elected officials, business men and women who came out to support the community event.

“This community is so rich in work ethics, in desire to see good things happen for our community,” Mayor Karen Goh said, as she addressed the crowd.

“Many of you have poured into this community and we are so grateful for that. “Let’s continue uniting,” she said.

“So, I would like to invite you, when there is some sunlight, to go check out the parking lot near the Vida Scott Center because this week we finally paved over a brand new parking lot and parking stalls that, of

course, parents will see as they are dropping off their children in this brand new 70 million dollar Stem School,” Supervisor Perez said amid cheers and applause.

Waller recognized the sponsors for the evening JP Lake (KITE) and Bank of America Representatives, Bryan Franco and Karen Sue Yarrow-Zuber for making it possible for the recipients to receive the scholarships at no cost.

“I’m here to introduce the main event of the evening, StartitUp, which you all came to hear about from the Founder and CEO of StartitUp, Goli Ameri,” Lake said. “I want to set the tone a little bit and to share what’s on my mind and heart why this is so important, not only for Bakersfield, but for the southeast part of town. “

“Starting a business is hard,” Lake said. “So, what you’re going to hear about tonight is that StartitUp is all about giving an entrepreneur a helping hand and someone who will walk that journey with them.”

“For those of you who are still just thinking about your business and it only lives up here in your mind, the most important thing I can share with you tonight is that you’ve got to take the first step, “ he said.

After speaking with over thirty-seven cities in southern California, including mayors, elected officials, and developers, Ameri, thanked Bakersfield for promoting StartitUp and for seeing so much support for leadership and entrepreneurship, she said.

Ameri explained in detail the significance of having the StartitUp App and having immediate access to a personal mentor and coach to help with step-by-step assistance for a successful business.

As the event came to a close, the six coaches were then directed to sit with the attendees and to answer questions about starting a business or concerns about operating businesses. Every six minutes the coaches changed tables.

“I’ve had about 25 businesses, and failed at about 20 of them, “CEO Plush Vodka, Richard Daley said. “Don’t be afraid to fail, ” he told a group of entrepreneurs.

Business owner of South H Multi-Services, Willi DeGuzman said, “This event has been very informative. I didn’t know about this app. Omega Insurance coach, Fredrick Prince was helpful for me.”

Bank of America sponsor, Bryan Franco told the group sitting at his table,” Anyone can go through the StartitUp app and download it. It’s a great tool to help entrepreneurs succeed.”

Every coach brought something unique to the table; yet, they all had the same message. Entrepreneurs have to take risks. But perseverance, dedication, and a business plan are a few of the necessary steps required toward becoming successful business owners.

No one seemed to mind at all that the event went beyond its scheduled end-time.

StartitUp is a downloadable mobile app “designed to provide small business entrepreneurs instant access to expert tools and a mentor to help entrepreneurs create and run a successful business.”