January 2016

Page 20

Cover Story Reality Check 2 of 3:

Stacey Nellen-Kolze of Nell’s Wigs & Boutique, Allouez Stacey Nellen-Kolze used the resources of the Wisconsin SBDC at UW Green Bay as well as E-Hub/Urban Hope to grow her wig, mastectomy apparel and massage therapy business. The SBDC helped her crunch numbers before she applied for a loan to expand and become Medicare accredited. “It’s very scary when you don’t know what you’re doing,” she said. Nellen-Kolze started selling wigs as a cosmetologist from her chair at a local salon in 2007. Two years later she moved into a separate space, and in 2011 she developed her business plan through E-Hub/Urban Hope to add on the mastectomy/post-surgical garment boutique and massage therapy services. When she was ready to take out a loan, E-Hub sent her to the local SBDC office to help her prepare. “They were able to assist me with the numbers side of it, with knowing how much, exactly, to take out for a loan,” she said. “You can’t just walk into a bank and say ‘Hey, I need money.’” Nellen-Kolze still attends E-Hub’s seminars occasionally and calls the SBDC office when questions crop up. She said she was reluctant at first to ask for help, but the people she met put her at ease. “Everyone is so welcoming – this community is amazing. I don’t know where else you would find so many people willing to help you,” she said. “It’s one of those places where, if you have a vision and drive, it will happen.”


What: Venture Center Where: Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton Web: venturecenterwi.biz Contact: 920.996.2949 or email venture@fvtc.edu

About: Venture Center is a “community of entrepreneurs and business owners as well as people thinking about starting a business,” according to its director, Amy Pietsch. “Through collaboration, education, training and networking, our goal is to help contribute to business launches, small business growth and economic vitality to the communities that Fox Valley Technical College serves,” she said. Venture Center offers education, training and mentoring for entrepreneurs. Its signature series, E-Seed, has guided many entrepreneurs from business plan to launch and beyond. “It’s ideal for people thinking about starting a business, as well as early-stage business owners,” Pietsch said. For existing small business owners with decades of history 20 | January 2016 | NNB2B