DreamBuilder graduates 27 new small business owners

David Bell
4 Min Read


THATCHER — A new group of entrepreneurs are ready to help bolster the local economy.

The DreamBuilder program graduated 27 Graham County business owners Tuesday at the Activities Center at Eastern Arizona College.

“You may or may not know that 99 percent of the businesses in the state of Arizona are considered small businesses. So if you can imagine 99 percent, it’s important that we help develop and grow small businesses,” said Eric Bejarano, director of Eastern Arizona College’s Small Business Development Center, which oversees the DreamBuilder program in Graham, Greenlee and Gila counties.

At Tuesday’s DreamBuilder graduation, Celeste Goetz, center, owner of Whimsy Balloon Creations, receives a Certificate of Special Congressional Congressional Recognition from Fiona DeYoung, community liaison for U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani. Also pictured is graduate Crystal Goodman, left.
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

DreamBuilder was created by Freeport-McMoRan and the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU in 2011.

“It was originally created in Spanish and was used in Freeport’s operating areas in Chile and Peru. It was so successful in those communities they decided to make an English version of the program,” said Hannah Colvin, program manager with the Thunderbird School.

DreamBuilder is a 10-week course that offers step-by-step information on how to start a business — everything from defining a concept and how to secure financing, to pricing and sales. At completion, all graduates have a functional business plan.

The SBDC at EAC is just one of 10 locations around the world that includes in-person classes with the online course work for DreamBuilder. That allows the SBDC to bring in guest speakers and instructors, who educated the participants on issues such as the process of finding a location for the business, accounting requirements and marketing.

In addition to their graduation certificate, DreamBuilder participants received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz., presented by his Community Liaison Fiona DeYoung.

“To all the graduates: not only do you run a small business, or you’re planning to start a small business, but you are clearly going above and beyond, to develop yourself, your skills and your contribution to your community,” DeYoung said.

DreamBuilder participants, from left, Cindy Balbuena, Robert McGrew and De Ette Vitton pose for a group photo following Tuesday’s graduation.
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

2024 Graham County DreamBuilder Graduates

  • Patricia Abeyta — Patricia Abetyta Photography
  • Cindy Balbuena — Gila Valley Rides
  • Stasha Barlow — Jars & Lace
  • Loa Beals —
  • Laura Bernal —
  • Lacy Carrell — Code 4 Medical Supply
  • Amber Chatman —
  • Clifford Davis — Davis Farms
  • Sebrina Davis — Davis Farms
  • Lehuna Dodge — Auntie Hua’s
  • Karen Fox — Layton House B&B
  • Candice Garcia — Candice’s Creations
  • Maria Gardner —
  • Celeste Goetz — Whimsy Balloon Creations
  • Crystal Goodman — On Sight Pest Control
  • Jessica Gowin — The Nook
  • Darian Iske — Grown with Grace Plants
  • Amanda Lines —
  • Robert McGrew — Gila Valley Rides
  • Jennie Miner —
  • Sherry Quinlan — The Nook
  • Irene Schmoller — Irene Sofia Art
  • Elsa Saballos — Mi Casa Torilla
  • Kathryn Sticklin —
  • Maxine Taggert — Maxine’s Reflexology
  • De Ette Vitton — Gila Valley Rides
  • Jamie Wright —

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David Bell , gilavalleycentral.net
Local News – GilaValleyCentral.Net , 2024-04-03 19:18:25
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