Bali Learning Center, Merced
Uday Bali has been among the campus’ biggest fans since transferring here as an undergraduate in 2005 when the university opened. He’s served as student body president, graduated in 2008 with highest honors and a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering, and has returned here for graduate school, working in Professor Roland Winston’s solar energy lab. Now add “entrepreneur” to his list of accolades.
This Spring, Bali opened his own tutoring company. Bali Learning Center offers individual and group tutoring in all subjects for students from kindergarten through high school. The center will begin SAT exam preparation classes in August. Why tutoring? Why Merced? Why now? To fill a need.
He visited local schools as ASUCM president in hopes of getting teachers to promote UC Merced to their students as a world-class university in their back yard. Unfortunately, he found many teachers feared that their students lacked the necessary skills to succeed at a UC. “UC Merced was put here in the San Joaquin Valley to help increase the college-going culture of the region, but we need auxiliary services to make that vision a reality,” he said.
That’s where Bali Learning Center comes in. “My goal is that students who participate in our program will succeed in reaching their educational goals,” Bali said. “Some aspire to attend community college; others have their sights set on the California State University system; and others expect to attend a UC or private college. Whatever the goal, I know BLC can get them there.” Bali has created a business model, thanks to the assistance of Bill Andersen, assistant director of the Alliance Small Business Development Center that helped him with his business concept. Mr. Andersen also helped Bali find affordable space and network with potential clients. Anderson has provided the necessary introductions and information on what services are most needed locally. “Academic success comes from a combination of knowledge and confidence; I hope our program instills both in our clients,” indicates Bali. The UC Merced SBDC Regional Network is fortunate to work with clients like Bali who invests not only time and talent back into the community but business owners who also exudes a positive spirit that inspires others.