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Local News

Mushroom Jerky Wins Big

Baqi Kopelman
West Business Development Center
Lama Nasser-Gammett of The Forest People accepts a mock-up of a $10,000 check from Megan Barber Allende and Jim Mayfield of the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.

August 27, 2019 — Mushroom jerky took first place at Startup Mendocino’s final event on Sunday. Lama Nasser-Gammett, of The Forest People in Boonville, delivered the pitch that won her mushroom farming enterprise $10,000, which she says she’ll invest in a dehydrator, permitting and packaging costs, and a website to help her break into the burgeoning vegan snack food market.

Startup Mendocino was an initiative of West Business Development Center, a local non-profit that provides training to small businesses at various stages of their development. The idea was for 12 of these endeavors to participate in a rigorous training program to hone their pitches to attract investors. The 12 competitors were selected from over 80 applicants, were then winnowed down to five finalists, who presented a quick sketch of their business model, with analyses and projections and ready answers to detailed follow-up questions about percentage of growth, research and development, and what their competitors are up to. But the judges, who came from around the state, weren’t just looking for a glib sales pitch. We’ll hear from the judges, the winner, a local philanthropist, and a representative from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, who worked with West to train aspiring entrepreneurs in Mendocino County.

The runners-up, from second to fifth place, were: Ande, a clog-making company, Are we Safe Yet, a cybersecurity service, The Mendo Voice, an online newspaper, and The Red House, a co-working space.


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