Erica Anthony
Escalada Education Co.
San Antonio
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Escalada Education Co.

What does your business do?
Escalada Education Co. provides quality, efficient, and individualized in-home and neutrally-located tutoring services for students of all ages in mathematics, science, and other subjects.

What would the grant enable you to do that you can't now?
With the Idea Cafe grant, I would be able to run a more ?green? and time-friendly business. I could lose the hassle of cleaning dirty whiteboard erasers, messy whiteboard marker peels and smells, and buying and recycling those markers when they dry out. In addition, having a better way of displaying long calculations would make a world of difference for me and my students. At times, I either have to use two whiteboards or, if I only have one available, cram my writing or have the student write down part of the calculation before erasing and then continuing with the next part.

Finding a visible yet non-intrusive mounting area on a small or even large desk for one or more whiteboards and having a place to set rolling markers is daunting at times. A self-standing computer like the hp TouchSmart makes these hassles obsolete. It or any similar device can also be used as a learning tool itself; apps for scientific calculators, math and science games, and even stain- and mess-less whiteboards are available for iPads and Eee Pads. If I need to search for example problems or come up with problems or equations for practice, I would save time by using a computer to find them instead of ?reinventing the wheel? in the middle of a tutoring session.

Being able to have tools that are in line with today's technology would further assist students by providing them with better visual references than I can draw. When I try to draw pictures more complicated than circles, it can get pretty abstract looking; I also lose time there when I have to either fix or re-explain what exactly my drawing is supposed to represent. Receiving the Idea Cafe grant would keep my plans to concurrently hug trees and help educate the students in my community on the table for many years to come.

If Idea Cafe's Grant helps your biz reach greater success, how will you "pay it forward" to help others in some way?
The first thing that I would do even after receiving the Idea Cafe grant is to start recommending any one with small business plans and questions to look into free help, grants, and small business loans. I have gladly given advice on such things in the past, but it is a much stronger testimony to hear suggestions from someone who has struggled through the hard way and later found out a much better way to approach a plan. I have quite a few references like Idea Cafe that have helped me on my quest to getting my business to where I want it, and since I have a fairly unique set-up and a small worry concerning the threat of competition, I wouldn't mind sharing all the tools that I have found. I also would like to give workshops on tutoring methods and strategies that can help anyone else looking to pursue the same type of business that I have or offer a type of ?shadowing? or internship opportunity to anyone looking to gain experience in running a small business.

After my business reaches a certain level of efficiency, I would love to be able to offer low-cost tutoring workshops to members of the community who may not be able to afford the usual product that my business offers. There are many ways that I could help, but regardless of if I receive the Idea Cafe grant, I plan to be an asset to my current and future clients and to fellow business people.

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