Valley Resource Helping Entrepreneurs

March 30, 2009 8:31:04 PM PDT
Selling houses or real estate these days can be a tough venture but if you're thinking of starting a new business ... There could be no better time than now.Vicky McQuoid of Visalia needed to come up with gift for her nephew a few years ago and decided to sew him a pillow. McQuoid said, "So he unwrapped the pillow on Christmas and he was like "oh cool, an army pillow!" and I said, "unzip the zipper" and he did and he was like "oh wow!"

It wasn't long after that Vicky McQuoid and her sister in law Billie Jo Haas started selling the "Pilloroo" at craft fairs up and down the state. Then someone told them about the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship ... specifically the Office of Technology Development and Commercialization ... or TDC.

TDC Director Mike Summers said, "This is all about creating jobs. This is all about economic development."

Mike Summers is the Director of the Lyles Center TDC ... In two years the TDC has spawned four startup companies ... Providing more than 30 jobs and raising more than 650 thousand dollars for new business startups. Among their business ventures ... Click ... An energy-protein drink sold in hundreds of stores in the United States and Canada ... The Rescue Stick ... A portable inflatable rescue flotation device used by police, firefighters and the military around the world. And now ... The Pilloroo. Getting the pillow to market took hundreds of hours and lots of legwork.

Mike Summers says rural areas like the Central Valley are often the home of the most resourceful individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit.

"It's never been a better time. If you look at the vary of entry, it's never been a lower cost. A lot of people are out of work. Now is the time to do your due dilligence ... the business plan ... the marketing plan ... the idea genesis of what you think you're good idea is," said Summers.

As for the Pilloroo ... it's available in select stores up and down the state of California and online at www.pilloroo.com ... It sells for 32 dollars.

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