What were the biggest hurdles you had to overcome in starting your business?
After taking undergraduate courses at three different periods of my life, I finally accepted that college is not for me. For the most part, people have been told that the only way to a successful career is through earning a degree, and oftentimes, there is a feeling of under-achievement or even guilt when the college path is not taken. After establishing my career in the dental field, I wanted others to realize there are options out there that do not involve college and do not involve student loans. Over the course of a year I poured countless hours of time, energy, and professional guidance into a curriculum that would provide an accelerated, affordable, and flexible career education and training program for those interested in working in the dental field. Our initial hurdles were space for classes and finding the answer to the question, “How do we enroll students?” The investment required to rent space and purchase all of the dental equipment required to train our students was not realistic. So, I reached an agreement with the dentist I was currently working for to use the office when it was closed. This was an easy decision for the dentist as it would provide income when the office was closed. To address the second hurdle, we utilized social media heavily to stay within our initial budget limitations. We continue to face these same hurdles as we look to expand our footprint. New spaces and new avenues to reach potential students will remain our focus as we expand.
Why are you excited to be part of the Spark! program?
We could not be more excited and honored to be participating in The Venture Center’s Spark! 2019 program. The connections we’re making with the other programs participating and with the leadership at The Venture Center have been highlights of the program. We’re gaining guidance in business structure and business which is just what we were looking for from Spark! With the initial focus of the business being on the curriculum and setting up the best experience for the student we look to establish more planning and structure that is needed for an efficient goal focused company.
What are your overall business goals?
Our goal is to save both the student and the dentist time and money. We want our students to graduate with little to no student debt, avoiding the national student loan debt crisis we see today. Our program is a fraction of the cost of a degree track and similar programs at other institutions (i.e. Eastern College and Pulaski Tech, but don’t include their names, just giving you a reference). We also save the student time by focusing solely on the skills needed for chair-side dental assisting. We do not require additional “curriculum fillers” that are not directly related to the dental field. The time and money savings for the dentist occurs with the training and on boarding process. We prepare our students to be able to hit the ground running when joining a dental team. Our aim is to significantly decrease the time and money spent on a new hire in a dental office with the training we provide our students along with the state licensing and certifications in CPR and Nitrous Oxide Administration.
Who are your favorite entrepreneurs?
Sara Blakely (Spanx) and Johnelle Hunt (JB Hunt Transport Service).
What are your favorite podcasts?
The Armchair Expert, The Dentalpreneur