By: Blakely Fraasch, Content Creator Intern
Many people have heard the phrase “when you fall off the horse, get back on the saddle”. On the path to entrepreneurship, you may experience a few bumps and bruises, but the ride will be worth it. Starting any business venture is a lot like learning to ride a horse – sometimes you need to hold on for dear life and ask someone to show you the ropes. SEED SPOT alumna Chelsea Harden already knew how to ride a horse, but needed some guidance in turning her business idea into a successful venture.
Chelsea has been riding horses since she was nine years old. After starting college, she realized she could combine her love for therapeutic education and horseback riding to make a difference in people’s lives. She joined SEED SPOT’s Full-Time Program in January of 2015, where she received the advice and education necessary to start her venture, The H.E.A.R.T Center.
Learning The Ropes At The H.E.A.R.T Center
The Harden Education and Recreation Therapy (H.E.A.R.T.) Center was created in 2014 to “offer an elevated and diverse recreation therapy program that fosters development and independence”. Their goal is to help individuals of all levels and abilities create and bring about a positive change in their environment and increase their confidence. The center provides a remedial program that helps students who need a little bit more assistance overcome their challenges and grow in a safe learning environment.
Their therapeutic programs include:
• Therapeutic Horseback Riding, which helps to teach balance, muscle control, and attention;
• Vocational Training Courses, which better acclimates students for future work life; and
• Enrichment Camps, which bring more fun to winter or summer breaks with therapeutic learning aspects.
No Time for Horsing Around After SEED SPOT
During her SEED SPOT program, Chelsea’s goal was to make the H.E.A.R.T. Center a full-time therapeutic school for her students. But as she listened to the advice of others and pinpointed her clients’ true needs, her model evolved. Rather than functioning as a permanent replacement for school, the center would become a place students could go to learn and work on their academics, behavior, and recreational therapy.
Today, the center has become exactly that. The H.E.A.R.T. Center is a remedial program that allows students to come in a semester at a time, rather than a full-time school that Chelsea had originally planned. The students grow their individual abilities within a space before being placed in great schools around the valley, according to their specific needs. Chelsea’s excellent relationships with various schools guarantees that her clients find the right educational fit moving forward.
Next year, the plan is to launch and offer a full-time program to a larger number of students in a new facility. Chelsea and her team are currently raising the funds and capitol needed to build on their facility and add more classrooms, conference rooms, and an adaptive gym. The primary objective is to expand the H.E.A.R.T. Center’s existing resources and space so the program can grow and create a bigger impact in students’ lives across the Phoenix area and beyond!
Saddling Up With SEED SPOT’s Full-Time Program
To keep the H.E.A.R.T Center’s growth aligned with society’s fast pace, Chelsea regularly reviews the advice and tools she received from her mentors and teachers in SEED SPOT Full-Time Program. Our Full-Time Program is designed to provide entrepreneurs like Chelsea with a business model canvas that helps them to organize their venture and develop a strategy for maximum impact.
As the H.E.A.R.T. Center continues to grow, Chelsea uses the canvas to make sure her boxes are checked and that her business in growing in the right direction. “It’s a very visual, easy way to see how to organize an idea and its growth within the business, and make a plan for the future or next steps moving forward.”
Riding with the Stars: H.E.A.R.T. Center Fundraiser
For anyone looking to support a fellow social entrepreneur and SEED SPOT Alum, the H.E.A.R.T. Center is hosting a fundraiser! Riding with the Stars is raising funds for the H.E.A.R.T. Center and the student scholarships they offer. It takes place on April 29th and will both showcase their programs and highlight their hard-working students. Stop by to show your support!
Taking the Reins In Your Own Venture
Starting a venture will come with various challenges, so it is important to listen to seek out advice from those who have already been there. In the words of Chelsea Harden, “be open to growth and change, and be open to feedback and mentorship! Everybody’s feedback, whether I deemed it positive or negative at the time, helped to shape the H.E.A.R.T Center and bring it in the direction that it’s going!”
Start your entrepreneurial journey today.
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