SCOTTS VALLEY—Two local business partners who envision a stronger regional economy launched this week the first issue of Regional Small Business Monterey Bay, a magazine aimed at business-to-business entrepreneurship in the Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties. The idea is to provide practical business solutions, share experience and support collaboration.
“There seems to be a consensus with at least some people that we need to tear down the boundaries and market the whole area,” said co-publisher Andy Van Valer, managing partner at SlingShot SV, a business development firm, and a board member of Think Local First. “We’re answering a need.”
The small business challenge is sorting through all the noise, Van Valer said. “We’re trying to be a neutral party saying, ‘Here’s what you need to do.’ Our magazine wants to get them into action.”
The 44-page magazine is online and is available for free in newsstands and at business locations. It will come out six times a year or every other month. It will also be sent directly to subscribers at no cost. About 5,000 copies have been published. The first issue features stories on entrepreneurs Scott Gold and Chris Zephro, advice on social marketing and business loans ,as well as survival tips for the self-employed and a photo essay of art in the workplace.
“I do think there’s a need for it,” said Mary Ann Leffel, president of the Monterey County Business Council. Leffel noted the success of Edible Monterey Bay, a specialty magazine that has “elevated people’s opinion and awareness of what’s available in that sector.”
In some ways the new publication is a renewal of the Santa Cruz Small Business Monthly, a magazine published several years ago by financial adviser Michael Meara. Meara, who is a co-publisher of RSM, is a partner at Nexus Wealth Advisors as well as at SlingShot. He also serves as treasurer of the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County Board of Directors.
“The idea is to educate people that there is a business infrastructure here and continue to foster it,” Meara said. “Nobody’s getting this message out. We’ve got some really interesting companies here and people are making it work.”
The magazine will highlight the unique lifestyle of Monterey Bay entrepreneurs and how they integrate this culture into their business, Meara said.
B2B focus is important, said Teresa Thomae, director of the Central Coast Small Business Development Center. Buy Local campaigns often focus on individual consumers but it’s just as important for businesses to build local partnerships.
“Any time we can let the public know about the thriving local small business scene it’s an opportunity to remind us we need to buy local, support local and think local,” Thomae said.
Shyam Kamath, dean of the College of Business at the California State University, Monterey Bay, said regionalism is the path of property for the tri-county, Monterey Bay area.
“Only by combining the resources, geography and talent of this region will it become the world-class cluster that it has the potential to become,” Kamath said. “A world-class B2B regional magazine will be a key asset in unlocking and communicating this potential. It will play a key information sharing and community development role in the small business and entrepreneurship eco-system.”
Van Valer and Meara said they expect the venture to be self-supporting within a year.
What: A free publication that will be published every other month aimed at the regional B2B entrepreneur.
Co-publishers: Michael Meara and Andrew Van Valer.
Information: 831-275-1301; http://www.regionalsmallbiz.com.
This article first appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.