PROFILE: Paul Kolbe, Entrepreneur
After 26 years working with the Space Shuttle program, Paul found himself to be one of the many who were laid off. Paul’s last position with United Space Alliance was Manager for the Solid Rocket Booster Recovery Operations.
Paul grew up and worked around boats most of his life. As a child he used to help his great uncle with his boat canvas business. Prior to starting work with the Space Shuttle program, Paul owned a small bait and tackle business and offered marine canvas repair. In 1987 he went to school to learn more about the trade and purchased a few pieces of equipment. His thought was that when he retired he would have a small marine canvas business. He didn’t know at the time his business would start sooner than later.
After his lay off, Paul came to Brevard Workforce to see how the National Emergency Grant for Aerospace could help him. Paul heard of the entrepreneurial services Brevard Workforce offers and since Paul’s interest was to get his marine canvas business operating, he started to attend Biz Launch. At Biz Launch Paul learned the important steps to start his business and remain successful. After meeting with his entrepreneur coach at Brevard Workforce, Paul also learned that he could receive financial assistance with upgrading his skills and knowledge to start his marine canvas business. He researched where to take the classes to learn the newer techniques used in marine canvas work and learn the business end of running his business. With the help of the NEG funds, Paul was able to take the required courses and obtain his professional certification for a marine canvas business.
Paul registered his business, Paul’s Marine Canvas with the state of Florida in April, 2013. He maintains a good and steady customer stream which provides him with a comfortable income. Working for himself allows Paul more time to spend with his two grandchildren.
When asked if he had any words of wisdom he would like to share with other aspiring entrepreneurs, Paul said “Have a plan, know what you want to do and like it, don’t be afraid of failure – we all make mistakes, and be cautious on how much money you are willing to invest.” He recommends that before you invest a lot of money into your business; make sure you have the ability and knowledge to do it.
For more information on Paul’s Marine Canvas, go to his LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/rpkolbe.