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Becki's Mediterranean Olive Salsa

Becki Spina, an admitted "foodie," began giving her olive salsa as gifts to friends who loved it and subsequently asked if they could purchase more. Already having a career as a music therapist, Spina declined. However, when she lost her job and found herself caring for her wheelchair-bound son, she knew that she needed to find a way to make ends meet. From the advice of a friend, Spina decided to build a business around her olive salsa.

As with many start-up businesses, Spina identified her largest hurdle as a lack of money. According to Spina, "I was out of work and my son was in rehab for a life-altering event so I had no money. I went from being a professional to being dirt poor and I was sure I couldn't do this without capital."  To access capital, Spina knew she needed a business plan and turned to the Western Dairyland Business Center for help, where a Business Development Specialist urged her to apply for two local business plan contests and then helped her put together the business plan and financial projections necessary for submission. Spina went on to win both business plan contests that year. The financial awards from these contests granted Spina the ability to launch Becki's Mediterranean Olive Salsa, LLC, and move into her own space. 

On July 8, 2006, Spina had her first sale at the Eau Claire Farmer's Market, where she brought 87 containers of her salsa and sold out in just two hours. By Fall 2006, she was able to get her salsa into several local grocery stores. Three years later, Becki's Mediterranean Olive Salsa, now in four varieties, can be found in approximately 50 grocery stores and she continues to sell at the local farmers markets. To keep up with demand, she has hired five part-time employees and continues to enjoy a steady growth in sales.

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