Graduates from the First Two-County Microenterprise Initiative Celebrate at Final Class at Genesee Community College

In another collaborative business partnership, The BEST Center teamed up with Orleans County Microenterprise Assistance Program (MAP) to offer a 12-week educational course that covered all aspects of owning and operating a small business.

At last Tuesday's final class, 17 small business owners and potential entrepreneurs celebrated their graduation from the Orleans County Microenterprise Assistance Program (MAP). The program was held at The Best Center, Genesee Community College at the Batavia campus. This spring's class marks the first combined Genesee-Orleans Microenterprise initiative, and included three participants from Genesee County, 15 from Orleans County with nine students who were directly sponsored by the Orleans County MAP.

Program participants learned about business laws and organizational structures, start-up procedures, leadership and team building, taxes, bookkeeping and budgeting, marketing, computer applications, insurance, and management. Although the educational training ended last week, the graduates are continuing to develop their business plans by working with Small Business Development Corporation, The BEST Center, and volunteers from SCORE, Counselors for America's Small Business.

"Small businesses are essential for our local and state economic vitality. Everyone in the community benefits from even one new successful enterprise," Ray Chaya, Director of The BEST Center said. "Our goal is to educate and assist individuals in establishing ventures that will enrich us all well into the future."

The MAP is a federally funded program administered through Housing and Urban Development that was designed to provide eligible participants with free entrepreneurship training, technical assistance, and access to low-interest revolving loan fund money. The overall goal of the program is to create viable and productive small businesses in Orleans County, and has expanded its efforts to include organizations beyond the county line when collaborations such as this one are practical.

The next series of training classes for new business entrepreneurs will commence Tuesday, September 6. For further information contact The BEST Center at 585-345-6868 or go to

A photograph of the graduates from the most recent Microenterprise Assistance Program is available at the following Internet address. grad class.jpg

The following photo caption identifies each class participant and also the business enterprise he or she is pursuing assistance for:

Front row: Sandy McPherson, Internet Café, Albion; Kristine M. Gallop, Artemis Day Spa, Batavia; second row: Stephanie L. Debo, Industrial Safety Consultant, Batavia; Patricia A. Doyle, All About Kids Daycare, Albion; Stacey Kirby, Mural Painting, Albion; back row: Darryl Luxon, General Maintenance, Albion; Wesley "Butch" Davis, Butch's Antley and Jewelry, Lyndonville; Derek Wolf, Online Career Web Site, Bergen; Stephen D. Cox , Tropical Fish & Birds, Albion; Charles Eberhardt, Computer Service and Support, Holley; Michael McGee, Mobile Welding Service, Albion; Ralph E. Dickinson, The Storage Depot, Holley; and Timothy G. Kirby, Kirby's Farm Markets, Albion. Not pictured are: Clifford Kepner, Horticultural Therapy, Lyndonville; and Kim Schroeder, Family Center/Child Care, Medina.