After looking at Karen Appelgren’s career as a whole it’s not surprising to learn she spent more than a decade as a teacher in the Boise School District.
Appelgren now is a vice president at Zions Bank and the director of the bank’s Business Resource Center, but she’s still a teacher at heart.
“That’s very true, and I think that’s why I really enjoy this position,” Applegren says.
As director of the Business Resource Center Appelgren helps entrepreneurs start, expand and finance their business ventures. The center does this by providing knowledge and tools for success through workshops and one-on-one training.
Since November 2013 Appelgren and her colleagues have created and delivered workshop presentations on business startup, finance, sales, marketing and social media that have attracted more than 900 potential customers to Zions Bank.
“I love what I do,” says Appelgren, who was also honored by Idaho Business Review as one of the 2106 Women of the Year. “I feel so excited to come to work every day and make a difference in people’s lives. We know that it’s important to grow the economy, and I feel like I’m on the front line, helping those entrepreneurs take those ideas and implement them.”
Nathan Virden is one of the many entrepreneurs that Appelgren has counseled. Virden wanted to create his own business building and repairing agricultural equipment in Nyssa, Ore.
But he admits that he really didn’t know where, or how, to begin the process.
“I started from the very bottom,” Virden says, “and she helped us every step of the way. She helped us with everything we needed to submit to the SBA to get our loan. She helped us with our business plan and all the financial projections. You name it, she helped us with it.”
Today, Virden has Snake River Machine up and running.
“It’s doing really well,” Virden says.
That’s music to Appelgren’s ears.
“I work with a variety of individuals and businesses, and you feel that you’ve made a difference in their lives and the lives of the community,” Appelgren says. “Those new businesses end up hiring employees, so it has an exponential effect.”
CPA Carmen Weyland is another business owner who has felt the wide influence of the Business Resource Center.
Writing about her experiences with Appelgren, Weyland says, “Through my profession as a CPA, and as a founder of several small businesses, I have worked with many business consultants. I have never worked with a consultant like Karen. I was, and still am, blown away by her passion, compassion, knowledge and commitment to helping small businesses in Idaho.”s