A Vermilion business owner was selected to participate in the nationwide Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Richard Scheufler, founder of both VIB Marketing Agency and the Marketing Foundation, said he's attended classes as a part of the program with the main goal of gaining growth opportunities.
"Having graduated from (the program) now ... it's amazing," Scheufler said, adding the class ran from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays, for about two and a half months. "You feel at first you have nothing in common with anybody because we're all across the spectrum for companies, but we actually have everything in common.
Scheufler said he is one of 34 business owners in the program.
In total, the businesses involved in his cohort contributed a total of over $32 million to the economy with over 350 employees, he said.
Over the past six years, the program has graduated 7,400 business owners, 600 of those in Ohio.
Scheufler said the program has provided him information that his formal schooling lacked.
"It's like, where is the knowledge for the business owners?" he said. "It was lacking everywhere I went, so this is what I felt filled in the gap I've been looking for and I finally feel like I've been completed."
Scheufler and his wife, Alexandra, own VIB Marketing Agency, which has been in business since 2014 and has since grown from a team of two to eight departments.The agency provides traditional and digital marketing services, including business consulting, marketing strategy, media outreach and website development.
After four years, Scheufler said the agency has integrated marketing automation, now making corporate-level technology available for small local businesses.
"Our true mission is to help," he said. "Profit is a naturally occurring byproduct of helping others, and that's what gives us our edge, because we're able to now bring technology and abilities to companies around here that was probably unfathomable before because of costs."
Providing these services has come with some trial and error, Scheufler said.
"They don't teach a lot of this at school," he said. "Marketing is trial by fire, and you gotta be one of those people that just wants to jump in the saddle and be willing to take some risk, but do it in a caring way."