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When Judi Jacobsen turned 30, she vowed to take up painting. Her hobby quickly turned into a business after Jacobsen, the mother of four, invested $200 and teamed with a partner to create the Madison Park Greeting Card Co.

Today Jacobsen's venture is a thriving business with millions in profits. In fact, it's so successful that she's concerned about how to divide it among the children once she's gone.Jacobsen is a real person running a real business in Seattle. She's also one of many entrepreneurs featured each week in a new public television series "Small Business 2000," which is being billed as the only how-to TV show on starting and growing a business.

The show features a different business in a different city each week and lets the owner serve as a sort of friend/instructor in what is termed a "master class."

The show is hosted by Hattie Bryant, a business owner herself, who created the series that will debut in the Salt Lake Valley this weekend (see box).

It also is being distributed by the PBS Adult Learning Satellite Service to 5,000 colleges and universities, including Utah Valley State College in Orem.

"The future of America is in the hands of a new breed of citizens. I call them the new American heroes - small business owners who are quietly starting at least 2000 and as many as 10,000 companies every day throughout the U.S.A.," Bryant said in a press release. "This amounts to an explosion of human creativity."

Energetic and an adept interviewer, Bryant quickly explains the show's purpose and then leads viewers through a company, introduces the principle players and gets them talking in their offices, in the packing plant, in their meeting rooms.

In Jacobsen's case, there were many issues to address. After giving a brief personal and business history, Jacobsen speaks of the struggles to keep the business going, her continuing need to generate fresh ideas, the potential trouble involved in employing family members and her hiring policies to help displaced homemakers, handicapped individuals and refugees.

One of her sons, who now is company president, also discusses ways the company uses technology and keeps the niche it has carved out in a highly competitive field.

From time to time, the show switches to an expert in a particular area to talk about a specific matter. For example, after the son talked about technology, an expert demonstrates for Bryant various computer programs that create spreadsheets and keep books.

Unlike many business shows, this one is polished, and the overall mood is much like taking a field trip to somebody's business.

The show is being sponsored by US WEST Voice Products and Solutions Marketing in its 14-state region.

"The producer came to us and said `We have this wonderful show and US WEST has been such a supporter of small businesses. It would be a perfect match,' " said Patricia Evers, marketing communications manager in US WEST's Voice Products and Services.

"We were the first Bell operating company to have a division dedicated to the small-business community. We have been marketing to that type of customer longer than the other companies and then we enhanced that with a special emphasis on home-based businesses," Evers said.

Sponsoring the program will help business people in smaller communities get new ideas on how to make their enterprises work. It also will help US WEST get some exposure in markets where it normally doesn't advertise.

"In smaller markets, we really would like more of a presence and would like to show that we are supportive of small business in our territory," Evers said.

"Small business is becoming a curriculum item in a lot of business schools, but there is not much out there focusing on case study work. this is one more tool to provide to faculty members and future business leaders of America to see what makes them (successful small businesses) work and what makes them tick," Evers said.




"Small Business 2000" will run for 52 weeks on two local public television stations sponsored by US WEST Voice Products and Solutions Marketing. The show will debut on KBYU at 11 p.m. Friday and on KUED at noon on Sunday.