Forest Entrepreneurship Program

Sierra Business Council, alongside our partners at Sierra Commons, is excited to present a free training for entrepreneurs looking to establish a forest-based and/or wood products business.

If you have started or are interested in starting a business in forest thinning and management, defensible space, prescribed fire application, small mass timber product manufacturing, small diameter timber utilization, biofuel, bioenergy, home hardening, plant restoration, other non-timer-related businesses, and/or forestry logistics, this program is for you. 

We invite all forest entrepreneurs to join our second cohort, which will meet June 4 – July 2. 

This current programming will consist of 5 virtual sessions. In person sessions will be held in future sessions. 


The workshop series covers all aspects of launching or expanding a business. The program can be delivered virtually or live and each participant is eligible for one-on-one technical assistance at no cost through the SBDC program. The planned curriculum is as follows:

Class 1: Introduction to Forest Entrepreneurship

Class 2: Research and Planning

Class 3: Financing, Pricing, and Cash Flow

Class 4: Marketing, Sales, and Growth Strategies

Class 5: Government Contracting and Creating Winning Proposals

Registered students are expected to attend all of the classes, as well as accountability groups and free advising sessions.

About this Program:

The Forest Entrepreneurship program will be led by Robert Trent, the founder of Nevada City’s nonprofit business incubator Sierra Commons and an experienced consultant who has taught hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years. Students will learn basic foundations of good business – from finance, pricing, and cash flow to research, marketing, and sales and the complex world of government contracts and permits. Guest speakers and instructors will lead the above sessions. 

Read more about Robert and Sierra Commons here. 

Robert Trent

The courses will be offered in person in Nevada City. 

The curriculum is designed to provide:

  • Technical assistance to launch small businesses and entrepreneurial development focused on wood-based businesses
  • Training and guidance for transforming businesses from individual ownership to cooperative businesses to support economic justice at business ownership levels
  • Opportunities to showcase emerging business opportunities that have co-benefits of wildfire reduction and economic development, particularly at the nexus of wood product development and outdoor recreation in rural forested communities
  • A nexus to existing markets and identified needs such as forest thinning and management, application of prescribed fire, small mass timber product manufacturing, small diameter timber utilization, biofuels manufacture, and logistics and support

Funding for this program was provided by a Good Jobs Challenge EDA-funded grant through the Foundation for California Community Colleges to conduct forest and fire-mitigation training programs in the Sierra Nevada region of northeastern California.

Join Us In Creating A More Resilient Sierra.

To learn more about this program, contact: