• Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Building The Best Sandcastle: Meet UpStart Facilitator Sheri McGuire

  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 2857
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

Sheri McGuireSheri McGuire is the executive director of Longwood Small Business Development Center. She has helped craft the curriculum for Virginia’s Growth Alliances UpStart Entrepreneur Bootcamp and also is a facilitator during group sessions.

Through the SBDC, she provides follow-up mentoring and guidance to students when the bootcamp is completed.


We sat down with Sheri to get her insights on entrepreneurial excellence:

How is UpStart different from other courses designed to help entrepreneurs?

In the past, the course had been taught in the traditional classroom style. The focus was on writing a business plan. There was a textbook and lectures.

I looked at all that with Nick Langlie, and he suggested incorporating the Business Model Canvas, which focuses

on the thought process you need before you get to the structured business plan. With his ingenuity, Nick was able to curate the canvas and other course elements online. It all came together in the first UpStart class piloted last year.

To me, it’s exciting to see people really think about what they want to do with their business and ask, “Does it work?” They are able to test business ideas in real time with real people. During the course, you go out and you try a few things. If it doesn’t work out, you lean or pivot, and develop the confidence to go in a different direction.

With UpStart, you do that before you go through that laborious process of putting everything down on paper in a business plan. I think a business plan has become somewhat of a dated concept. It’s static. If you’re not careful, you can spend a lot of time writing a plan and spend a lot of money going in a direction that wasn’t suited for you or for the market.

What did you love about the pilot session of UpStart?

It’s exciting to see the business ideas develop. A student may enter the class with one idea, but they can take a total turnupstart class for the better, to something that is viable, by going through the Business Model Canvas process to test it out. It was neat to see that happen in the class last year.

Have you been in contact with any of the student’s since UpStart?

Yes. You’re not just left to your own devices when you leave the class. You’ve still got resources there that can help.

Mentoring is really a lot of what we do, to be honest with you. Just brainstorming through issues, ideas.

We are a system of support, because it’s scary. Sometimes you just need to be able to talk through something one-on-one with somebody that can understand or bring additional resources to help with an issue.

If you were a superhero, who would be your arch-nemesis?

I have learned that you need to figure out how to play with everybody, because you can’t avoid the villains. You’ve got to figure out what their motives are and find a way to accomplish what you need despite  them… or with them.   

You’re going to come up against competition that you’re going to want to obliterate. The only way to do that is to make yourself different and make sure that you’re providing something that the customer wants and is different from what your competition is providing. I guess, as a business owner, you may see your biggest villain as your competition. And you are all in this  big sandbox; you just have to figure out how to build a better sandcastle than them.

The Upstart Entrepreneur Bootcamp is free and available to residents in VGA’s region, which includes Amelia, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Greensville, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Lunenburg, and Prince Edward counties, and the City of Emporia. For more information visit www.thinkbiggervga.com

Last modified on
Rate this blog entry:

Jeff, Executive Director of VGA, grew up in a rural county in West Virginia and his family still lives on the farm that has been in their family since 1841. Jeff's passion is rural economic development, and his economic development experience has always been in smaller, rural communities. He was a primary and driving force behind www.mountainmade.com, a national pilot project with the Robert C Byrd National Technology Transfer Center that showcased the internet as a rural economic development tool.


File Icon Amelia County
File Icon Blackstone Industrial Park
File Icon Brunswick County
File Icon Brunswick County Industrial Park off Rte. 58
File Icon Buckingham County
File Icon Charlotte County
File Icon City of Emporia
File Icon Clarksville Commerce Center
File Icon Crewe Industrial Park
File Icon Cumberland County Community Profile
File Icon Economic & Workforce Evaluation of VGA Targeted Industry Sectors by Mangum Fletcher
File Icon FASTA Site
File Icon Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) Project Fact Sheet
File Icon Greensville County
File Icon Heartland Regional Business Park
File Icon Hillcrest Business Park
File Icon I-85 Park in Alberta
File Icon Interstate Industrial Park
File Icon Joint Enterprise Zone Map - Greensville County and City of Emporia
File Icon Kinderton Technology Campus
File Icon Lakeside Commerce Park
File Icon Lunenburg Commercentre
File Icon Lunenburg County
File Icon Map of Airports
File Icon Map of Major Highways & Interstates
File Icon Map of Port Access
File Icon Map of Rail Access
File Icon Mecklenburg County
File Icon Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center
File Icon Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMaC) 60-Mi. Workforce Map
File Icon Mid-Atlantic Advanced Manufacturing Center (MAMaC) Detailed Site Map
File Icon Norwood Estate
File Icon Nottoway County
File Icon Pickett Park
File Icon Prince Edward County
File Icon Regional Profile
File Icon Retail Development Services
File Icon Roanoke River Business Park
File Icon SET Plan
File Icon Taxes on Manufacturers - Brunswick County
File Icon Taxes on Manufacturers - Charlotte County
File Icon Taxes on Manufacturers - City of Emporia
File Icon Taxes on Manufacturers - Greensville County
File Icon Taxes on Manufacturers - Lunenburg County
File Icon Taxes on Manufacturers - Mecklenburg County
File Icon Taxes on Manufacturers - Nottoway County
File Icon Taxes on Non-Manufacturers - Brunswick County
File Icon Taxes on Non-Manufacturers - Charlotte County
File Icon Taxes on Non-Manufacturers - City of Emporia
File Icon Taxes on Non-Manufacturers - Greensville County
File Icon Taxes on Non-Manufacturers - Lunenburg County
File Icon Taxes on Non-Manufacturers - Mecklenburg County
File Icon Taxes on Non-Manufacturers - Nottoway County
File Icon The Virginian, Lifestyle Magazine Fall 2016
File Icon VGA Entrepreneurship Assessment & Recommendations - Longwood University SBDC
File Icon Victoria-Lunenburg Industrial Park
File Icon Virginia's Growth Alliance