Q: What originally got you interested in working in or with startups?
A: “Judy Mahan, Director of the Cal Poly CIE SBDC and Incubator Program at the SLO HotHouse, and I had an interview about 15 months ago. I gave Judy my background information and references for my consulting company, Charles M. Intrieri Consulting. She treated me very nice and thought I had skills that the Cal Poly SBDC could use: Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Management, Third Party Logistics (3PL) Selection, Software Selection, Warehouse Optimization, Import/Export and Inventory Management.
I mentored for about a year to gain experience working with startup companies. I’m very proud to be working with Cal Poly. I currently work with about 10 startups and put in about 30-40 hours of my time a month. I personally just like finding resources for all Cal Poly start up groups that could help them with their company. One thing that I want you to know about me is that I really enjoy paying it forward and helping others. What good is all my years of experience if I don’t use it to help other people?”
Q: When working in a startup, do you recall a failure? If so, how did you overcome it and what did you learn from it?
A: “Finances and investments have always been the biggest issue. It’s hard for young people to find enough money for their businesses. If they can get Capital Infusion, that will help them keep their startup companies running. So, financial issues are the hardest part, but so is advertising and marketing. A startup’s challenge is pitching their product to investors. Startups need to know how to engage people with their product. In my experience, you have to keep going; you can’t stop. You need to believe in your product and always find the time to try to improve it, based on customer feedback.”
Q: How was your experience working with the Pan d’Oro Bakery so far?
A:: “Dan is a true entrepreneur. He’s very opened-minded and really listens to what you have to say. I met Dan through Slow Money SLO, a peer-to-peer lending group, who invests in food products. Dan approached them, and he was swamped 7 days a week working in his business and trying to work with Google Docs online. He needed help. Mountain Stream was a program I referred Dan to that I felt would really help him. They have a program that works great for bakeries specifically. Mountain Stream was easy to learn and it gave Dan more time to focus on his bakery business. Originally, Dan started baking at their home in SLO and has now made his products available at his newly established Back Porch Bakery in the Carlton Hotel in Atascadero. Dan is also an artist, and I’ve been encouraging him to put his artwork in the Back Porch Bakery. He’s also working with Jeff Wade and Slow Money SLO, a great resource for food businesses. “
Q: Additionally, what is some advice that you know now that you would give yourself 10-15 years ago if you could?
A: “Work with the Cal Poly CIE SBDC. I’m from Chicago, and I just love the Central Coast and Cal Poly. All the things that I really want to do are here now. I have met some wonderful young entrepreneurs and I have learned from them as well.”