Monday, October 13, 2014

Do You Think Entrepreneurial Thinking Can Change Lives?

That moment when you're 17 and you win seed money for the business you just started. It happened at the library.

We asked Izzy Hernandez (pictured on right): Do you think entrepreneurial thinking can change lives?

Izzy said:
"I do believe that entrepreneurial thinking can help change lives. Look at Phoebe, Faith, and me, with all the work that we did in 48 hours. We are making a step into helping our community's teens by getting out financial knowledge that is definitely gonna help our youth have an idea of what to do once they finally "leave the nest" or so to speak. [she laughs.]

"If we get teens more interested in this topic we can help prepare them and help better there lives so they won't be left out in the dark. After all, we teenagers are the future. We are going to be the decision makers in our world and that is why it s so important that we help each other out when working on this project and hopefully this curriculum that we have started.
"It is to help benefit our teens, to help benefit our community, and most importantly, to help benefit our world."
Izzy was one of three teens who took part in the first programming funded by the Idea+Space grant. She spent 2 days of her fall school break with Robin and Brooke from LeadLocal, learning how to explore and test financial curriculum ideas for teens, using the lean startup methodology. Their proposal was so strong that Izzy, Faith and Phoebe were awarded $750.00 seed money to test their ideas in the real world, for classes given by the YWCA.

You'll be able to meet Robin, Brooke, Faith, Phoebe and Izzy at Tuesday's Catalyst Cafe. You don't want to miss this one!

When: Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 5:30-7:00pm
Where: Main Library Lower Level Meeting Room 2nd floor Idea+Space, 101 N. Stone.
Parking: Parking under the library is free after 5pm.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Copyright: Can I use that Picture?

Can I use that Picture? Source:
Can I use that Picture? Source:
How do you know if you can use a picture or not? Do I need to cite the source?

This graphic, created by The Visual Communication Guy lays it out for us.

Did you create it yourself? Where will you use it? What rights has the creator reserved? This infographic helps you find your way.

And if you can't find the source, check out our blog post from March, 2013: So, who made this? How to reverse image search. This post teaches you how to start with just an image and figure out who made it or where it came from.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What questions will you have for our Food Truckers?

I can think of a bunch of questions for our 4 panelists tonight. What questions will you ask?

  • Why a food truck?
  • How is Tucson's food truck market doing? 
  • How is Tucson's food truck scene different from other cities? 
  • How does running a food truck differ from running a brick-and-mortar business?
  • What role has social media played for you?
  • How are regulations different from a traditional restaurant?
  • What is the ecosystem like? For example I notice that there are few food trucks at large festivals like the 4th Avenue Street Fair. 
  • Do you have another job? How flexible is the food truck biz?
  • What happens when you break down? Get sick? 
  • What do you love about a food truck?
  • What is your day like? 
  • What is it like to expand from a food truck to nationwide distribution?
  • What would you do differently? What was your biggest surprise? 
  • Is there territoriality? 
  • What is better? Moving around? or having a consistent location?
  • If someone wants to have a food truck at an event, what do you look for? How do you choose where to be?
  • What would you like to see happen in Tucson?
Food Truck Confidential starts at 5:30pm today in the Lower Level Meeting Room of the Main Library downtown. Parking is free in the Library Garage after 5:00pm. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Food Truck Confidential, Scoopin' the Good Stuff

We'll be scooping the good stuff this Tuesday at the Catalyst Café. Come hang out and hear what it's like to own a food truck business.

Tuesday, Sept. 9th, 5:30-7:00 pm
Joel D. Valdez Main Library
101 N. Stone Avenue
Lower Level Meeting Room

Parking in the Library Garage is free after 5:00 pm

Friday, July 11, 2014

Grantwriting for Nonprofits at Catalyst Cafe

On Tuesday night, I gave a brief run down of the Pima County Public Library's resources for researching and writing a nonprofit grant proposal to a private funder. The first stop a grant seeker should make is to check out the library's Grants & Nonprofit Info Center page. We have tons of free workshops and trainings related to grant seeking and writing right on the front page. You can also sign up for a free eNewsletter to receive grant opportunities for Pima County nonprofits.

You may also want to do your own research. Access to our grants research databases is available at all of our library branches. You can use a library computer or sign in through our WiFi to access the databases on our website. The Foundation Directory Online profiles over 110,000 grantmakers that give throughout the U.S., and it has data visualization tools available to help determine if a funder gives in the geographic region your project is occurring and what types of projects that they've funded in the past. I recommend that new grant seekers use the "Search Grantmakers" tab and focus on the "Field of Interest," the "Geographic Focus," and the "Types of Support" boxes.

The Arizona Guide to Grants database has over 1,800 profiles of grantmakers who have a stated giving preference in Arizona or a past history of giving to nonprofits in Arizona. One of the key features of this database that I love is the "Upcoming deadlines" link. You can find tutorials for these databases on the right hand side of the page.

If you're ready to write your proposal but aren't sure where to start, take a look at our page. In the presentation, I also highlighted a few of my favorite resources for writing help. Here they are again!

 This resource provides access to free online webinars, sample proposals and other sample documents, a “Get Answers” section, archived live chats and videos that will give you tips on strengthening your proposal. 

Tools & Resources for Assessing Social Impact (TRASI)
Find ready-to-use tools and learn what leading nonprofits, foundations, and others are using to measure their impact. This is very useful for the “Evaluation” section in your proposal.

Arizona Common Grant Application 
This form was developed by a committee of the Arizona Grantmakers Forum to facilitate the application process within Arizona. It effectively streamlines the grantseeking process by allowing nonprofits to create one application that can be submitted to multiple funders.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Grants and Contracts for Small Business

Our July Café featured an expert overview of government grants and contracts by Sandy DiCosola of Summit Contract Management, LLC, a company that manages such contracts for the full procurement cycle.

Sandy has agreed to share her PowerPoint "Grantwriting and Government Contracts for Small Business," where she encouraged small business owners to search and see if there are government solicitations for what your business provides. She is often surprised by the goods and services that the Federal government contracts is looking for.

Here are my notes from her presentation:
  • To get ready: you'll need a 
  • Allow for lots of time to go through the process, at least 6 months.
  • Government Grant vs. Contract: 
    • Grants are for research that leads to commercial products that don't exist yet.
    • Contracts are for existing goods and services.
  • Research the granting agency so you know current news and all about their mission. The library can help you here!
  • Have 2 kinds of readers: a colleague reviewer who is knowledgeable on the subject, and a detail-oriented, non-expert reviewer who can catch jargon and holes in the logic. 
  • If the application is to be submitted electronically, upload it before the deadline to allow for "Murphy's Law."
  • If you are not chosen, you can follow up and ask for a debrief of the reasons.
  • If you're looking for local partners, talk to the UA's Tech Launch Arizona, a clearinghouse for licensed local innovation and products.