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Dirty Business Soil, Arcata

“Young entrepreneurs win $25,000 in seed capital”

Dirty Business Soil Consulting & Analysis (DBS) offers premium agricultural testing and consulting services. While the company does provide general soil and water services, such as wetland delineation and general testing, DBS has developed a niche in testing and analyzing soils with a specific emphasis on crop management. The company analyzes soil samples for private and commercial growers and can specifically identify the nutrients needed to increase soil health and production success. 

DBS owners decided to compete in Humboldt County’s 2012 Economic Fuel competition, hoping to win prize money to help launch their lab.

The competition (no longer active) was an annual event sponsored by local Security National owners Rob and Cherie Arkley and was designed to create a climate of opportunity that encourages local college students and recent graduates to apply their education and talents in new business ventures in Humboldt County. Awards ranged from $5,000 - $25,000 and over the eight years the competition was active, young entrepreneurs received about $930,000 in seed capital.

Participants in Economic Fuel were required to submit detailed business plans and Schuette and Berg worked with North Coast SBDC Business Advisor Sandy Neal to write and refine their plan. They also attended educational workshops on small business financing, marketing and more, which all helped in their understanding of small business operations and contributed to a quality plan.

With the help of their small business advisor, the young entrepreneurs created an award-winning business plan and walked away with a $25,000 prize, which they used as seed money to help start their lab. The publicity garnered from winning the competition also helped to support the success of the new business.

The young entrepreneurs also maintain their relationship with the North Coast SBDC and Neal and seek advice regularly as their business grows and they face new challenges. They also continue to use the Business Plan template provided by the North Coast SBDC and update it annually.

“Working with the [North Coast SBDC] was instrumental in helping us create an award winning business plan, and we could not have done it without the help [they] offered. It was especially valuable because though the SBDC has the resources, we had to do the work. Still, they were there to support us every step of the way.”

Dirty Business Soil Consulting and Analysis
CEO: Joanna Berg and Sarah Schuette
Arcata, CA