The stage is set at the Soper Reese Theater in Lakeport. Four Christmas trees frame the presentation screen, two to the left and two to the right. A grand piano and podium balance the front of the stage; it’s the first time the piano’s been out since March. Maryann Schmid and Olga Martin Steele, cofounders of the 1 Team, 1 Dream competition, bustle back and forth from the auditorium to the lobby, checking on the innumerable details involved in coordinating both a physical and virtual competition. The theater’s sparsely filled; everyone’s distanced and masked. Three judges sit at their tables on the floor, spaced in thirds across the stage: Pat Scully, Laurie Dohring, and Ernesto Padilla all wait eagerly to hear the contestants. Olga wipes down the microphones with disinfectant wipes, then steps to the podium and double-checks that the Facebook feed is up and running. “Welcome to the first-ever business competition in Lake County,” she begins.
It’s been said that Lake County isn’t business-friendly. With the 1 Team, 1 Dream competition, Maryann Schmid has upended that notion. She has an ability: seeing the potential in people and businesses. “I have no skills,” she laughs, smiling a huge, bright smile. “The only skill I have is being an entrepreneur. And I want to help other entrepreneurs succeed.” That’s why she and Olga Martin Steele founded the 1 Team, 1 Dream competition, a contest designed to help foster promote small businesses in our county. Prizes for the competition range from $1,000 for fifth place up to $15,000 for first. But the 1 Team, 1 Dream competition is much more than just winning a cash prize. It’s about learning how to implement an idea effectively. Once the application deadline closes on August 31st, several of the applicants will continue in the competition. They will attend a one-day training on business planning, learn how to develop a business plan, and make a presentation on their idea to a panel of judges. All applicants will learn invaluable skills needed to succeed in our constantly changing economy.