Former Hewlett-Packard Consultant Hopes to Help Entrepreneurs in the Upstate

Cathey Petkash can empathize with people who want to leave their corporate jobs and become entrepreneurs.

That’s because she’s done it.

In 2005, Petkash left behind an 18-year career with Hewlett-Packard’s professional services group to pursue her own entrepreneurial dream. And now she hopes to use that experience to help Upstate residents become self-employed.

“A lot of people are leaving the corporate world to become entrepreneurs,” Petkash said. “Having done it myself, I have an understanding of what they are going through and am deeply committed to helping them make good decisions.”

After Petkash left HP, she began working with FranNet, an international consulting company headquartered in Louisville, Ky., that helps match prospective entrepreneurs with franchise opportunities.

Her experience with FranNet inspired her to seek out her own small business venture. In 2007, Petkash bought a flower shop on St. Simons Island in Georgia.

She said she was able to grow the business and sold it for a tidy profit in 2012.

The following year, Petkash decided to go full-time as a local specialist with FranNet, focusing on Charleston and surrounding communities in the Lowcountry.

Recently, she made the decision to expand her services to the Upstate.

Petkash said the primary focus of FranNet is to help individuals to want to start a business, but don’t know how or where to start. She concentrates on franchise opportunities with established companies that have good brand recognition and support services for their franchisees.

“I am looking to get more active in the Greenville-Spartanburg area,” Petkash said. “My plan is to hold seminars and begin to educate people more on what we do. If anyone is interested in learning more, the next step is to sit down with them and help them build an ideal business model based on their own personal and financial goals. … This is a better model because an individual is making a very informed decision. It’s a very intense process that usually takes about three months.”

Petkash said her services are available to franchisees at no charge. Franchise companies pay her a referral fee after they reach an agreement with one of her clients.

She is also interested in working with other local entrepreneurial programs as a coach or mentor.

She said, on average, franchise investments run at about $150,000. Some of the best investments, she said, are not related to food.

Three industries Petkash said that tend to do very well even in a down economy are businesses geared toward caring for seniors, children or pets.

Petkash earned her Master of Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Central Missouri State University.

“I’m here for people who want a little bit of a kick start,” Petkash said. “I get a lot of satisfaction from what I do — helping people start their own business. I love business. … It’s personally fulfilling.”

Petkash can be reached at 1-678-644-3868, or by email at

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Sep 16, 2016