10 graduate from inaugural PACE class

Participants in the Pennsylvania Wilds first PACE class wave for the camera during a Zoom meeting.

Entrepreneurs representing 10 different businesses from across the Pennsylvania Wilds have completed the inaugural PA Wilds PACE Program, a 10-week professional development course to help scale rural businesses.

“This program truly provided me with a personalized toolbox I can use to ‘do’ my business better,” said Marie Lewis, owner of Pine Springs Pottery and a participant in the PA Wilds PACE cohort. “It did not fully answer and explain every need and question but rather provided me with a starting point and direction for learning more in my weakest areas as well as actions I can take to flesh out and improve those areas where I am already doing well. In addition, it provided a way to really get to know a network of creative entrepreneurs that I would not otherwise have the opportunity to work with — there are already some collaborations in the works.”

While COVID-19 required an online format for the final session, it was nothing new to the participants, who were tuning into Zoom twice a week throughout the duration of the course. A social banquet / graduation ceremony will be offered once the public health situation improves.

The Wilds Cooperative of PA is a regional business network about 300 members strong that is managed by the PA Wilds Center.

In addition to Lewis, participants in the inaugural cohort included: Ryan and Brandi Magaro of Rich Valley Wines, Tim Thomas from Elkwood Arts, Mickayla Poland of PA Made LLC, Christine King from King Krunch Gourmet Brands, Tara Heckler of Blackberry & Sage Market, Kevin Coolidge of From My Shelf Books & Gifts, Kathleen Schnell of Cottage Glassworks, Allison Schanbacher of Lucky Shot Photography and Michellle Munksgard of Icyy Ink Screen Printing.

PACE stands for Plan, Accelerate, Commit and Expand. The program was offered by the PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc.

Covation Center blends curriculum-based and facilitated cohorts with one-on-one mentoring to ensure participants are able to develop their own unique plan for business growth.

Learn more and watch for updates about the PA Wilds PACE Program and the Wilds Cooperative of PA at wildscopa.org/wco-pace-program/.