MicroEnterprise Coaching Helps Small Business Entrepreneurs Get Started

Tony Solgard, President of Bookkeepers Plus, recently coached a group of small business entrepreneurs participating in the MicroEnterprise Institute at Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida Inc. He takes a moment to share his thoughts about supporting the program and the inspiration he finds in being a mentor for small business development.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of speaking at the graduation of the latest class to complete the MicroEnterprise program at Goodwill Industries SWFL. It was rewarding to see the enthusiastic entrepreneurs I had coached in the weeks before as they took another big step toward turning their business ideas into reality.


I first learned about Goodwill's MicroEnterprise project when I joined the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce in 2013 and met Elliott Rittenhouse, director of the project. He explained that the program aims to help aspiring small business owners by providing them with the skills they need to succeed as entrepreneurs and become more independent. When Elliot asked if I would like to be a volunteer coach, I quickly said yes.

Tony has served as a mentor/coach in our business training program for the past year. He is a great resource for the group, able to help them understand the financial aspects of the business, which tends to be the biggest challenge for the participants.
— Dorothy Browning, Program Manager, MicroEnterprise Institute of Goodwill SWFL

Since joining the program, I’ve discovered the joys of coaching. It is inspiring to meet enthusiastic potential entrepreneurs and listen as they describe their business ideas. One of the first things I noticed is how passionate and skilled they are at delivering their product or service. At the same time, the range of tasks and skills required to start and run a business can be quite daunting. They just need someone to help them move forward. The MicroEnterprise Institute helps them explore the feasibility of their idea, work out a business plan, and get hands-on advice to develop their skills.

Graduates of Goodwill Industry SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute

Graduates of Goodwill Industry SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute

What sets this group of business people apart is that they decided to invest first in themselves, which gives them a much better chance at succeeding. I was impressed by their dedication to attending the course every week and do the studying, even after long days on the job. I know their decisions to improve their businesses will help them succeed.

It is such a privilege to help these entrepreneurs bring their business ideas to life. The late Leonard Nimoy once said, “Whatever I have given, I have gained." With each success these new business owners achieve, I am reminded of the rewards of volunteering and sharing with my community. 

Did you know?

  • MicroEnterprises represent 87% of all businesses in the United States.

  • There are more than 24 million microenterprises in our country.

  • One out of every six private sector employees in our country works for a microenterprise.

Learn more about Goodwill SWFL MicroEnterprise Institute.

Tony Solgard, a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor, is president of Bookkeepers Plus, located in Cape Coral and Bonita Springs, Florida, and providing bookkeeping services to businesses nationwide. His blog helps business owners understand why accounting details are important and to educate them (or whoever they assign to the bookkeeping function) on how to do it right. The blog offers accounting, bookkeeping and financial management tips, points you toward small business financial resources, and gives a shout out to small businesses with financial success stories. It discusses the pros and cons of using QuickBooks as well as provides tips to maximize your use of QuickBooks.