Our Technical Assistance Program assists small business entrepreneurs in starting or expanding their business. This program provides assistance to small business owners in developing their business plan step-by-step and answering many questions such as, what licenses/permits does your business need and how to obtain them and what financing opportunities are available. Whether you are looking to start a business or already have one, the Technical Assistance Program will address your business needs.
This program also helps build small business capacity through cost-free Small Business Development Workshops that are bi-lingual (English/Spanish) covering various topics that include business plan development, business law, insurance, marketing, and business banking among others. These workshops also include Small Business Lending and Financial Literacy workshops that help entrepreneurs understand the importance of financial management for their business and create awareness of the available opportunities in obtaining financing with the ultimate goal of preparing business for conventional business loan.
In addition, the Technical Assistance Program helps in other areas such as opportunities for import/export, introducing your product to new markets, and building your business network, and Small Business Certifications. These certifications help small businesses increase their opportunities to obtain federal, state, and local government contracts. We assist with small business certifications that include but are not limited to: Small Business (SB) Certification, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), State Minority Business Enterprise (SMBE), State Women Business Enterprise (SWBE), and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE).
Most importantly, this program holds a business owners hand during the fragile, start-up phase, and walks them through the initial process, which can be frightening to small business owners due to their lack of knowledge regarding government regulations, banking processes and many other hurdles of starting a new business. Approximately 95% of individuals assisted are low-to-moderate income.
Over 5,000 start-ups and existing businesses have received technical assistance through business development workshops and one-on-one counseling. Out of the 5,000 businesses assisted, approximately 2,800 are start-up businesses and 2,200 are existing businesses that have created/retained 12,200 jobs creating an economic impact of over $200 million.
Our Micro-loan Program was established in 2002 as the first program of its kind in the State of California operated by a Hispanic business organization. Our Micro-loan Program focuses on assisting minority owned businesses, including Hispanic-owned businesses and providing access to capital that’s not accessible to small business owners through conventional financial institutions. We assist in identifying the lending source, submitting the application, and gathering all of the necessary documents including developing a business plan and cash flow projections.
Since 2002, The Microloan Program has generated over 250 loans totaling over $5 million in capital.
The Scholarship Program has awarded over $285,000 in “Tomorrows Entrepreneurship Scholarship” ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 each. These scholarships support students pursuing a higher education and provide encouragement for them to obtain a college degree. Most of the students awarded are first generation in their family to attend a University and graduate. Scholarships are awarded during the annual Developing Hispanic Leaders Gala Night.
The Downtown Business Hub incubator is a one-of-a-kind project that serves as the first bilingual (English/Spanish) business incubator in the Western United States. It is also known to be the third in the country of its kind. The Downtown Business Hub (DBH) incubator provides the community and businesses with a one-stop-shop service center and supports the start-up and growth of businesses through technical assistance, outreach, advocacy and access to capital. The incubation program of businesses provides businesses with long term training and one-on-one counseling. Businesses incubate for a period of 2 or 3 years before they move forward independently with their business goals. This project serves as a great example of an innovative strategy that directly improves people’s lives. Businesses receive unconditional support that is nurturing for their businesses success.
The vison of the Downtown Business Hub (DBH) incubator was created in 2002 by CEO, Dora Westerlund and a group of local business owners that joined her venture. There was no doubt that a business incubator would serve as a great resource center for small businesses that were underserved and needed the guidance to establish a successful business.
After 5 years of planning and hard work, in 2007, with the help of private investors and philanthropic dollars, a 13,000 sq. ft. building was purchased to be renovated and turned into a business incubator. The idea of the business incubator was then presented to the United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration to obtain financing support for the renovations. It took Dora several months to prepare a business plan and financial reports that would prove a successful business model. Finally, in 2009, the Economic Development Administration granted the Foundation a $1.7 million grant that would support over 95% of the renovations. After over 8 years or perseverance and strong efforts in accomplishing her vision, Dora, with the help of community partners, celebrated the grand opening of the Downtown Business Hub incubator in 2011.
The DBH also serves as a virtual office space for small businesses that need a professional business address and location at which they can conduct business while living in a different city or state. The virtual office space also provides mobile business owners with a temporary work station that allows them to use our internet, telephone, and conference rooms for their business use.
Since its grand opening in 2011, the DBH has incubated over 80 small businesses. Currently, the DBH is home to 20 businesses that offer a diverse range of products and services that include legal representation, insurance, marketing and communications, financial advice, education, business consulting, and others. The DBH has demonstrated its effectiveness through the job creation and economic impact it has created. Since 2011, over 1100 jobs have been created/retained and over $2.7 million of private investment has been generated.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, this program, provides direct loans at affordable rates and terms to small and medium businesses in the City of Coalinga. The Coalinga Revolving Loan Fund (CRLF) assists the start-up or growth of a business, and revitalizes the local economy through job creation/retention. Through this program, we also provide business development training workshops to small businesses that are starting or expanding in the City of Coalinga. The purpose of the workshops is to educate and assist businesses in areas such as developing a business plan, that focuses on establishing company short term/long term goals and future growth. The topics for these workshops will include marketing, business structure, finance basics, loan applications and credit, management, and cash flow projections among others.