Boat school exec selected for national entrepreneurship program

By: Leader Staff - Feb 20, 2020
Source: The Leader

Betsy Davis, executive director of the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building, has been selected to participate in the prestigious Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program offered in partnership with Babson College, a top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education.

Goldman Sachs describes the three-month program as “an investment to help entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, capital and business support services.”

Davis said she’s thrilled to participate, and expects to spend 20 hours a week learning from top faculty about key aspects of business management and growth, while also receiving peer and faculty input on each student’s final “growth plans.”

While it is less common for nonprofits to participate in the program, Davis said her school has “grown successfully” in  the past five years, with the development of its new marine systems program, as well as its improvements to its 7-acre campus.

“This program will be a big stretch,” Davis said. “I anticipate it will unleash a lot of creative ideas as we launch into building plans for our future. The Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building wants to remain a vital player in growing jobs and businesses in the region’s maritime economy.”

To date, more than 9,100 business owners have graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program across all 50 states in the U.S., plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.

Davis is part of a national cohort that will use a combination of online learning and in-person training at Babson College.

“I’m excited because participating in this program will make Betsy even more effective in managing the growth of the school,” Board President Sonja Mathews said.

Davis sees the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building as a vital ingredient in the “maritime economic ecosystem” across the Olympic Peninsula.

“I credit Colleen McAleer, the (Economic Development Council) director for Clallam County, with my learning about the program,” Davis said. “She sent out an email describing the opportunity and I knew it was a perfect fit. I phoned the program organizers to make sure a nonprofit organization was eligible to participate, and was assured that we could, since our business model relies on earned income.”

Davis said that training provided in the Goldman Sachs program will help her school leverage state and private investments in its new dedicated marine systems building, whose construction begins this summer, thanks to instrumental support from state representatives Steve Tharinger (D-Port Townsend) and Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) and state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim).

The Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building is also a partner with Craft3, a regional community lender that participated in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program between 2012-17. Craft3 provided financing to the school in 2017 to support the creation of its marine systems program.

Workforce training is one component of Washington state’s “Maritime Blue” strategy to accelerate innovation and create the nation’s most sustainable maritime industry by 2050.

“It is heartening to see the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding take yet another step in building its capacity to meet the shortages of skilled tradespeople we’re seeing statewide,” said Joshua Berger, the governor’s Maritime Industry Sector lead.

“I’m proud to work with one of the many organizations on the Olympic Peninsula that supports maritime trades and businesses,” Davis said. “Whether organizations are structured as ‘for-profits’ or ‘not-for-profits,’ we all need to deliver services to customers and clients, develop clear plans for the future and draw on financial, communications and other management tools to deliver with excellence. There’s always so much to learn!”