Archive for the ‘classes’ Category

New Leasing Seminar Available

November 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Renting Commercial Property: Talking the Talk

with Brian Wilson, Kalberer

Thursday, December 16th 6-7:30pm
Mercy Corps Northwest Office, 43 SW Naito Parkway Portland OR 97204 (riverside entrance)

Brian Wilson, Kalberer and Mercy Corps Northwest Presenter

Brian Wilson, Kalberer

Finding the right property to help make your business thrive is important. You will look for many things, including location, features and of course costs. But finding the property is only half the challenge: negotiating a lease with your new partner, your Landlord, can be a daunting task.

This course will walk you through three essential parts of the commercial lease negotiation:

  1. How to negotiate the rent you can pay for the space you want.
  2. Understanding “The Nets”, or, the costs of leasing over and above basic rent.
  3. Other requirements that can cost you money, and where to find them in the lease.

During this course, you will be introduced to many new words and phrases common in commercial real estate, helping you to more effectively communicate and secure the best lease possible.

About the Presenter: Brian Wilson is a principle with Kalberer Company, a commercial landlord and property management company in Portland. He has been leasing and managing property since 1995 for tenants large and small: national corporations to one-person micro enterprises. Supporting his experience on the street, Brian also has a master’s degree in business finance and taxation.



Tackle your Business Taxes

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Small Business TaxesThis winter, Mercy Corps Northwest will be offering a two-part seminar series on the small business tax return. The first session (In November) covers everything you need to gather to be ready for the tax season and the second session (in January) actually walks you through the steps of filing a Schedule C tax return. Come learn how to do business taxes right, learn about new deductions, and ensure a maximum return.

Seminars can be taken separately or as a set. Both are held at the Mercy Corps Northwest Office: 43 SW Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97204 (river side of building)


Tax Planning for the Small Business Owner
Thursday, November 18th, 2010 5:30-7pm
Good tax planning is one of the keys to being profitable as a business owner. Learn how your business income and expenses impact your tax return. In this class, you will learn what you need to know about home office, depreciation, auto expenses, etc, as well as the information you need to keep track of.

Filing the Small Business Tax Return
Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 5:30-7pm
In this class, we will walk through the process of filing a small business tax return. Have you ever asked yourself, “Where do all these numbers go?” Also, learn about self employment tax requirements.

About the Presenter
Gilbert Gleason is currently a tax preparer with H&R Block. He has 25 years of management experience in the non-profit arena. His areas of expertise are Investments/Stock Options (income, sales, losses), Home ownership, purchase, or sale, Home foreclosure, Real estate rentals or vacation homes, Healthcare expenses (e.g., medical, dental), Charitable giving, Income earned outside the U.S., Retirement income, Income from multiple States, Clergy, Small Business, Sole Proprietor, or Self-employed, Trusts & Estates, Partnerships, Corporations, Not-for-Profit organizations, Help with IRS or State notices / audits, and Tax Planning.


Business Spotlight: Everyday Dog

October 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Alison and her BirdName: Alison Eberhard

Business: Everyday Dog

Involved In: Foundations Business Planning Course

Everyday Dog is a new dog training center in Vancouver, Washington that focuses on preparing dogs to become active members of the family. Classes are available for everything from first-time puppies to household manners to advanced skills, fun and games. Alison Eberhard is a Mercy Corps Northwest client and the business owner of this brand new establishment. In September Alison sat down with a Mercy Corps Northwest staff member to discuss life as a business owner so far…

How did you get started in the dog training business? I grew up around animals. My mom was an avid animal rescue person and she did obedience training. That’s all I’ve ever known – dogs and dog training.

What is the greatest reward you get from being a business owner? I really love having a key to my store and walking in and knowing that is my key, it’s my door, its my building, and I can put anything anywhere I want.

What are your future business goals? I would like to open a non-profit training and placement facility for service dogs that would operate out of the training shop, and then once the dogs are trained they would be donated to families who need them.

How can people get in contact with you? My website is and I’m located at 10214 SE Mill Plain Blvd, Suite A in Vancouver, WA.

Portland 10 Offers New Education Series

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

The Startup Challenge

Starting today, Mercy Corps Northwest is hosting a 6-week series of business classes taught by Portland Ten, an entrepreneurial development organization that assists founders in increasing revenue through better time and resource management as well as business and product development.

The class series “Six Week Sprint” features 12 classes on an array of topics including legal, product management, venture capital, entrepreneurship, accounting, finance, sales, marketing, HR, and more. Community Members are encouraged to attend ($30 per class, pay at the door, cash or check only). There is no pre-registration, but space shouldn’t be an issue.

The first four topics have been announced, with more to come:

16 Things That Indicate You’re An Entrepreneur Who Gets It
Instructor: Portland Ten Director, Carolynn Duncan
Tuesday, Oct 12, 3-5 pm at MercyCorps NW, 43 SW Naito Parkway

Managing Team & Product through Minimum Viable Product to Sales

Instructor: ShopIgniter founder, Alan Wizemann
Thursday, Oct 14, 3-5 pm at MercyCorps NW, 43 SW Naito Parkway

Legal: Basics of Company Formation
Instructor: Davis, Wright, Tremaine Lawyer, Steve Davis
Tuesday, Oct 19, 3-5 pm at MercyCorps NW, 43 SW Naito Parkway

Product Management: Ready, Set Launch
Instructor: Amy Winkelman, Product Management Consultant
Thursday, Oct 21, 3-5 pm at MercyCorps NW, 43 SW Naito Parkway

Check back on the Mercy Corps Northwest Calendar for the full listing in the coming weeks

Business Spotlight: The Gaufre Gourmet

September 9, 2010 2 comments

Delicious homemade waffles made by Charlene Wesler, Chef and Owner of The Gaufre Gourmet

Name: Charlene Wesler

Business: The Gaufre Gourmet

Involved In: IDA Program, Foundations Class

What inspired you to get started with your business? I love food!  The last eight years I have worked as a catering chef.  A major event of domestic violence in 2008 left me a single mom of three kids.  In early 2009 I lost my job.  Finding another job in this economy proved difficult so I took the opportunity to enroll at PSU to finish my degree in business.  It seemed like this was the time to follow my dream of owning my own business.  This is the time and place for food carts, people love them!  The potential was there for me to support my family while doing what I love, so most of this year I have spent perfecting my liege waffle recipe and developing the idea of a food cart as a way to create an income with a business that fit with  my life and priorities.  I hope to be a success story for other women in my position.  A portion of my profits will be donated to a local domestic violence charity.

What stage are you at in the process?
My business plan is complete and I am in the process of completing the cart. Opening day will be late September or early October.

What’s been a recent success for you?
My most recent success has been acquiring a loan for the remaining startup costs.

What are you working on improving?
I am working on getting my name out there and educating people on the deliciousness of the leige style waffle!

What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to seeing peoples smiling faces when they take a bite of these awesome waffles!

How can folks contact you about your work?
I can be reached at gaufregourmet [at] hotmail [dot] com

New Business Spotlight: Paobread

July 27, 2010 Leave a comment


Sina Baking LLC’s founder, Jewelie Cordero Schultz, spent her junior year in High School as a foreign exchange student in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, the birthplace of pao de queijo. Jewelie loved pao de queijo so much that she learned the traditional way of preparing it during her stay in Brazil, so that she could recreate it upon returning home to Oregon. In the years following her return from Brazil, Jewelie perfected her recipe for pao de queijo, much to the delight of her family and friends. In 2009 Jewelie decided to turn her hobby of making pao de queijo into a business, and Paobread was born.

Jewelie and her Husband Derek founded Sina Baking, LLC in 2010. Their objective is simple: To produce an authentic and all natural pao de queijo (as well as a few of Jewelie’s delicious variations.) Paobread is currently available in Portland area markets. Julie is a recent graduate of Mercy Corps Northwest’s Foundations Business Planning course. Visit Sina Baking, LLC online.

Let Them Eat Cake

July 13, 2010 2 comments

Week 5 of the Foundations business class, and students are talking about their costs, finishing up research on their competition, and defining their sales unit.

What’s Tracey Blacksmith’s unit of sale? Why a slice of cake… or a gluten free scone… or an almond toffee… or a delicious drizzled dessert pretzel.

She brought all those in to share with her Foundations classmates today, including a delicious sheet cake with the Mercy Corps Northwest logo.

The Foundations class is a great opportunity for participants to talk about their businesses with a group of their peers, and to share what they’re struggling with, what’s working for them, and even just give everyone a taste of what they do. It’s just icing on the cake if they happen to be baking experts and want to share that skill with the class…

Tracey’s business to this point has been word of mouth, but she’s working on getting her business name set and business cards made up. For now, those with a sweet tooth can reach her at tracey [dot] blacksmith [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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How Much Howe

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Tom Howe came in last week and did his website optimization class with us again. We had 18 people come in and run through in three hours how to get rich, search-engine friendly content onto their websites, how to get registered with the different search engines, and how to measure their results. They left with detailed handouts and powerpoint information, and solid steps on how to move forward.

But if you missed this class, don’t worry – we’ve got Tom roped in for another couple months.

June 2010

100 Ways to Promote Your Business – June 16 (6-9pm)

Social Media Marketing – June 23 (6-9pm)

July 2010

Website Search Engine Optimization – July 13 (6-9pm)

Successful Selling – July 20 (6-7:30pm)

August 2010

Social Media Marketing – August 3 (6-9pm)

Top 15 Legal Risks of Business – August 24 (6-9pm)

And remember, all of our upcoming classes can be found at

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Facebook for your Small Business with Ben Tomkins

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment
Facebook Group Page Screenshot

The Facebook class discussion page

Last week Benjamin Tomkins came in for another round of small business social media, this time focusing specifically on Facebook. But his work started long before 6pm on April 13th. A couple weeks before class, he started a group page for the class on Facebook, and asked participants to join, introduce themselves, and talk about what they were coming to the class to learn.

They were able to get to know Ben and his expertise a little before they came to the class, and he was able to tailor his content based on what people said they needed. It made a great link between the class content and finding an effective, interactive way to present it.

One of the participants in the evaluations wrote that “I brought my laptop, and I’ve already started using it in class!

He even inspired us to get our act together and make a Mercy Corps Northwest Facebook page, created just this week.

Taxes for the Sole Proprietor with Brian Setzler

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week on the 16th we called on everyone we could to come to a last-minute lunchtime discussion about taxes. Everyone, including the presenter himself: Brian Setzler, CPA at TriLibrium Accounting. I spent a good couple weeks calling up various accountants to see who would be available before April 15th, and it was a relief when Brian offered his services.

Brian talked about the difference between employees and independent contractors, 1099s, the importance of a business plan, and some of the local and more recent tax issues. He especially talked about why it’s worth it to make the investment in your accounting practices, as it will serve you well in the long-term.

“Found it motivating to get organized and find a CPA”

“Great overview, and coverage of ethics and what NOT to do”

There were a lot of questions, and taxes is clearly not a topic we can cover in a single lunchtime class. Participants suggested having more classes – possibly a series about taxes from start to finish, as well as maybe a panel of business owners to talk about their tax-time and general starting up experience. All ideas I’d like to get finalized and set up well before tax season 2011!

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