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COVID-impacted workers reinventing themselves in Miramar College entrepreneur lab

Posted at 4:26 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-24 22:44:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Some workers hit hard by the pandemic are now turning to an entrepreneur program at San Diego Miramar College.

In late March, Billie Guinto got word that her job booking events for an event planning agency was put on pause by COVID-19.

"My first reaction was dread ... If this lasts too long, I'm going to deplete my savings," said Guinto.

Guinto tried to sign up for unemployment but has yet to hear back. She renewed her realtor license and then decided to take a chance.

"I had to pivot quickly, and I knew this program was getting off to a really good start," said Guinto.

She enrolled in the summer session of Miramar College's REC Innovation Lab, a year-old incubator program aimed at budding entrepreneurs, especially in underrepresented communities.

The now-virtual lab includes courses, pitch sessions, networking, and mentoring. For Guinto, the program is helping her grow her big idea.

"I decided to create All Source Events, an application for professional event planners," said Guinto.

Her app will be a one-stop-shop for event planning, from scheduling to marketing to ticketing. Weeks into the program, she's already pitching to possible investors.

"By the end of summer, I plan to have a working iteration of the app to hand out to event planners to test and work out the kinks," said Guinto.

Guinto is one of the dozens of students, many of them jobless, now following their entrepreneur dreams.

"My attitude changed tremendously, I am excited, hopeful, and confident. There is light at the end of the tunnel," said Guinto.