October 22, 2015 saw the first workshop of any kind run at a brand-new facility — let alone one on 3-D printing. The Salvation Army complex is 188,000 square feet, housing 200 returning citizens, and was ramping up to offer a variety of community services. Their grand opening was a month earlier. They had just begun their outreach to market programs mainly around religious workshops two weeks before this workshop was offered. They included our fliers in that effort. There were few delays due to continuing construction, installation of technology, and phone systems.
In spite of over 300 fliers being circulated within the community and many more via email, we had five people sign up and two people show up. The two who showed up were energetic and engaged. The young lady was 24 years old, a single mom of a four-year-old who had previously owned a taco business and maintained an entrepreneurial spirit. The young man was a 28-year-old, formerly incarcerated father of a 14-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl. He currently owns and operates a small T-shirt business called “Evolve,” which exists to send a message to young men about evolving into better men.
Both participants had never seen 3-D printing before. Neither of them had shopping strategies or knew how to read nutrition labels. Both of them were very engaged when it came to discussing the many ways they bleed out money each month without knowing where the money is going. They both were very honest about their bad habits, flaws in their thinking, and felt they gained value from our three-hour session.
Both of them have registered for the follow-up workshop on starting a business in Illinois, and indicated they wanted to continue discussions around mastering the marketplace.