We all want locally-owned businesses to thrive because that means our neighbors and families who own the businesses are doing well and our local economy is healthy.

Any one of them will tell you that owning your own business is a hard, but fulfilling job because they are able to live their dream of being a business owner.

The Innovation Collective, in partnership with the University of Houston-Victoria and local businesses, is working with Crossroads residents to help them start their own locally owned businesses.

The grassroots effort is new to the Crossroads but is already busy networking with existing businesses, helping them to become stronger.

An important part of the networking is connecting entrepreneurs with potential mentors in the community who have built businesses and want to help other businesses succeed.

Over the past year the Collective, led by Nick Smoot, founder and CEO, has held mixers for locals to come visit and learn more about business ownership.

On Tuesday, the Collective will have its first Fireside Chat where Don Porr, owner of Diamond Fiberglass, will talk about how he built his business.

These gatherings are prime places for potential business owners to come, listen, learn and ask questions.

The work the Collective is doing to help Victoria’s economy grow with locally owned and operated businesses is commendable. It needs the community’s support.

Several businesses have already bought into the program, but more support is needed.

Owning a business takes time and support. If we look around Victoria, we see locally-owned businesses including grocery stores, clothing stores, specialty shops, industrial services and restaurants and more that are successful. But that success hasn’t been without some level of struggle.

With the Collective and its partnership with the University of Houston-Victoria, locally-owned businesses will have mentors to help them through the good times and the rocky times.

Will the organization be able to make all the businesses it helps start a success? The simple answer is probably “no,” but it won’t be without trying.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.

We know the area has many people with a lot of great ideas for a new business or improving an existing business but aren’t sure how to make it a reality. That is where the Collective can help.

They also need to keep in mind many internationally known businesses such as Walmart started as a simple, locally-owned business and grew from there.

Kevin Plank started the company Under Armour with his personal savings and five different credit cards. Within a year of starting, the company, he was broke and in tons of credit card debt.

His big break came when he sold his clothing to Georgia Tech for $17,000. His product began to take off and was used by NFL teams and picked up by major retailers. Today, Under Armour is a billion-dollar brand.

Michael Dell started Dell computers in his college dorm room. Once the business took off, he quit college and continued to develop his business into the multibillion-dollar company it is now.

These are extreme examples of locally-owned small businesses exploding to become known worldwide.

But they are good examples of how a person with a dream and an idea can make it happen with hard work, support from the community and mentors.

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This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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