Luckensmeyer nurturing entrepreneurship effort at WVC
Editor’s Note: first of two columns
Stacy Luckensmeyer has an elegantly simple formula that has led to success as a teacher, entrepreneur and her role as the business and industry liaison at Wenatchee Valley College: Build relationships and follow through diligently.
Luckensmeyer was my guest on the Art of Community podcast and we talked about the college’s efforts to support economic development and entrepreneurship.
She started out as a kindergarten teacher before stepping into the world of business by launching a preschool. She started the business from scratch and wasn’t well known in the community, but by putting herself in the uncomfortable position of selling herself and her vision, she succeeded.
She built that business and followed that success by starting a second and buying a third, all in completely different sectors. After over 10 years of running multiple companies, she sold them each successfully. That allowed her to retire, but she told me ‘she really didn’t enjoy it. It was not for me.”
Wenatchee Valley College offered her an opportunity to start teaching and that led to the opportunity to use her networking talents as the business and industry liaison for the community college. Her first-hand experience in developing businesses is an invaluable asset.
WVC’s Center for Entrepreneurship is a key part of the college’s efforts to encourage economic development in the region.
Luckensmeyer talked about this challenge as one of developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in our valley. The college is working with the Kauffman Foundation to prepare for a grant opportunity that will instigate greater collaboration in building the entrepreneurial support systems we need here to grow innovation and small business — networking opportunities and access to capital, for example.
One recent program that is being promoted through WVC is called “Economic Gardening,” a statewide program that allows local businesses with the potential to grow into new markets or niches to tap into expert research. The state Department of Commerce is working with WVC to bring this program to local businesses, with support from the Port of Douglas County and Cordell, Neher & Co.
Luckensmeyer is working with two local companies who have shown an interest in taking advantage of the program. The program has been successful in other parts of the country. The state has funding for another 20 businesses to participate, she said.
It’s great to see Wenatchee Valley College at the center of so many important initiatives. Luckensmeyer is proving to be an invaluable asset in connecting the college to the community.
Tomorrow: Stacy Luckensmeyer talks about the power of the Our Valley Our Future community-building effort to drive collaboration and build a stronger Wenatchee Valley
The Art of Community project is dedicated to fostering and celebrating creative community building in North Central Washington.