Upcoming Events

National Small Business Week
April 30 – May 4, 2018
Join The City of Austin Small Business Program for five days of free sessions covering funding, marketing, legal, and business planning.
Check out sessions below and reserve your seat!
Business Planning Sessions: Woman getting advice from a business coach
Tuesday – May 1, 2018
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Business Coaching Open Office Hours
Wednesday – May 2, 2018
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Test Before You Invest
Thursday – May 3, 2018
10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Writing a Winning Business Plan
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Business Coaching Open Office Hours
List of more offered by the city HERE. 
Other events you may want to be a part of:
April 21st, Saturday 10 AM to 1 PM
Join PeopleFund for a free credit review.  Confidential and personal credit checks are available through the experts at BB&T! On Thursday, April 20th, experts from BB&T will be on site to review your personal credit and evaluate credit reports for FREEAvailable in English or Spanish.
Here’s your chance to access your free credit report, notice any errors or discrepancies, and learn what you can work on to improve your credit!
Contact dbranch@peoplefund.org to reserve your spot.
 April 30th, Monday 8 AM to 10 AM State of Small Business in Austin Breakfast

The City of Austin Economic Development Department will host the 5th Annual State of Small Business in Austin breakfast at the Norris Conference Center on Monday, April 30, 2018 from 8:30 to 10:00am.

As the kickoff to National Small Business Week, the program will focus on small businesses issues in Austin. Keynote speaker Rosa Rios Valdez, President and CEO of Business and Community Lenders (BCL). Ms. Valdez will discuss the role of economic development organizations to ensure equitable economic development for all small businesses (including creatives). Ms. Valdez will discuss how small businesses are dealing with affordability challenges, funding/ finance issues and trends toward social entrepreneurship. Our intention is that Austin’s civic leaders and small business partners will be able to translate this message into actionable items to prepare our entrepreneurs for upcoming opportunities.

Following the discussion, City of Austin Small Business Awards will be presented to recognize entrepreneurial excellence in our community.

RSVP HERE .

May 9th, Wednesday 9th at 9 AM to 12 PM  8 AM to 10 AM Vietnam and Southeast Asia Briefing
Join us for a briefing on Vietnam and Southeast Asia by US-ASEAN Business Council and Becamex IDC. They will present on business opportunities and resources for entrepreneurs looking to expand to Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Who should attend?
• Manufacturers
• Supply Chains Enterprises (packaging, components, parts)
• Medical Device, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare
Related Industries
• High-Tech, Electrical & Home Appliances
• Electronic & Telecommunication Equipment, IT, Gaming, Software
• Food & Agri-Business (machinery, processing technology, animal feed)
• Property Developers (retail, condo, hospitality, entertainment & sports)
• Investment & Banking

Agenda
9:00 AM Registration & Networking
9:30 AM Welcome & Program
11:00 AM Q&A
11:30 AM One-on-One meetings
This event is presented by in partnership with the Global Business Expansion City of Austin Economic Development, World Affairs Council of Austin, Becamex, and US ASEAN Business Council.
RSVP HERE. 

Upcoming Events

 April 5th, 2018 from 11:30 AM- 1:00 PM –  Women’s Club Creative Ways to Delight Customers
Guest speaker Crystal Matterson, President and Founder of CrystalRaven Consulting LLC will share creative ways to set your business apart by delighting your customers and turning them into Raving Fans for your business.

Crystal is an international business consultant with an MBA from the University of Dallas. She lived in Asia for ten years and consults in management, business structures, project management, operations, trade import/export, Asia sourcing and manufacturing, and digital marketing.
Registration fee is $15 and includes lunch.

This club is for our women entrepreneurs to learn from, network with and support each other. If you’d like to attend and are not a member, you will need to sign up for membership first.   Find out more HERE.
April 6th, 2018 from 8:00 AM- 11:00 AM
WtB Last Chance
April 11th, 2018 from 8:00 AM- 4:15 PM – Local U sponsored by Google

Attend Local University–a full-day workshop about Internet marketing for Austin area businesses.

Featuring a presentation by Google: Learn how to use Google’s local products to acquire new customers, while also engaging and retaining existing ones. We’ll start by walking through claiming your Local Plus page, and then explore other local products.
We’re bringing in some of the leading online marketing experts for an intensive eight-hour crash course in Internet marketing that will help you navigate the possibilities for marketing your business on the web. You’ll learn Search & Social Marketing tips and techniques that will lead to sustained, long-term search engine rankings (and new customers) in your local markets and world wide. Receive a FREE review of your website.

For more details, click HERE. 

 April 21st, Saturday 10 AM to 1 PM
Join PeopleFund for a free credit review.  Confidential and personal credit checks are available through the experts at BB&T! On Thursday, April 20th, experts from BB&T will be on site to review your personal credit and evaluate credit reports for FREEAvailable in English or Spanish.
Here’s your chance to access your free credit report, notice any errors or discrepancies, and learn what you can work on to improve your credit!
Contact dbranch@peoplefund.org to reserve your spot.
 April 30th, Monday 8 AM to 10 AM State of Small Business in Austin Breakfast

The City of Austin Economic Development Department will host the 5th Annual State of Small Business in Austin breakfast at the Norris Conference Center on Monday, April 30, 2018 from 8:30 to 10:00am.

As the kickoff to National Small Business Week, the program will focus on small businesses issues in Austin. Keynote speaker Rosa Rios Valdez, President and CEO of Business and Community Lenders (BCL). Ms. Valdez will discuss the role of economic development organizations to ensure equitable economic development for all small businesses (including creatives). Ms. Valdez will discuss how small businesses are dealing with affordability challenges, funding/ finance issues and trends toward social entrepreneurship. Our intention is that Austin’s civic leaders and small business partners will be able to translate this message into actionable items to prepare our entrepreneurs for upcoming opportunities.

Following the discussion, City of Austin Small Business Awards will be presented to recognize entrepreneurial excellence in our community.

RSVP HERE .
May 9th, Wednesday 9th at 9 AM to 12 PM  8 AM to 10 AM Vietnam and Southeast Asia Briefing
Join us for a briefing on Vietnam and Southeast Asia by US-ASEAN Business Council and Becamex IDC. They will present on business opportunities and resources for entrepreneurs looking to expand to Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Who should attend?
• Manufacturers
• Supply Chains Enterprises (packaging, components, parts)
• Medical Device, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare
Related Industries
• High-Tech, Electrical & Home Appliances
• Electronic & Telecommunication Equipment, IT, Gaming, Software
• Food & Agri-Business (machinery, processing technology, animal feed)
• Property Developers (retail, condo, hospitality, entertainment & sports)
• Investment & Banking

Agenda
9:00 AM Registration & Networking
9:30 AM Welcome & Program
11:00 AM Q&A
11:30 AM One-on-One meetings
This event is presented by in partnership with the Global Business Expansion City of Austin Economic Development, World Affairs Council of Austin, Becamex, and US ASEAN Business Council.
RSVP HERE. 

Couple Sells Business to Employee of 20 years

 

Gabriel Orozco Goes from Technician to

Proud Owner of S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair


 
Austin, TX:  After working at S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair for more than 20 years, on January 2, 2018, Gabriel Orozco bought the business from the retiring owners, Eileen and Larry Smith.
Larry and Eileen are happy to see Gabriel take over the business that has been serving the Austin area since 1986. “We wish nothing but the best for Gabe,” said former owner, Larry Smith. The Smiths will be helping Orozco through a three-month transition period, to prevent any disruption in service as Orozco makes the transition from technician to owner.
For the last 6 months, Gabriel Orozco has consulted with Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), an organization that provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners. He completed EGBI’s business workshop series and will continue to be coached by EGBI staff to sharpen his business skills through the changeover.  EGBI helped Orozco qualify for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan from PeopleFund for the purchase, and connected Orozco to the University of Texas School of Law Entrepreneurship & Community Development Clinic for legal support.
Orozco looks forward to providing the same excellent service S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair clients are accustomed to.  “As a longtime customer, we are excited to hear Gabriel will be taking over the business and preserving the excellent customer service he has always provided us,” said Roy Reyes at Double R Sport Imports.
About S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair: S.T.A.R. Windshield Repair has served the Austin area as the rock damage repair specialist since 1986. Their mobile service has a lifetime money-back guarantee and provides insurance deductible waivers. For more information, contact the new owner, Gabe Orozco, at 512-576-5154.
 

8th Annual Small Business Saturday® and Shop Small®

Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) lends its support to the 8th Annual Small Business Saturday® and Shop Small® Movement to drive commerce to small businesses.  EGBI participates in this years Small Business Saturday, taking place on November 25th. Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting local small businesses and strengthening and celebrating communities across the country.

 
Austin’s a great city for small business. At EGBI, we embrace that spirit by bringing individuals, who historically have had less access to great resources, the support they need to help them become more successful business owners. That includes training, coaching and more, delivered in a comfortable environment in either English or Spanish. We meet our clients at their level as they start, grow and sustain grassroots businesses, contributing to Austin’s economy and the prosperity of their families.  Help us extend Austin’s entrepreneurial opportunity throughout our community. For  the 8th Annual Small Business Saturday® and Shop Small® Movement, EGBI is encouraging their alumni from Emerging Enterprises Training program and other local small business to get ready for the day with promotional banners and signage for their business provided at ShopSmall.com/YourDay .  Be sure to use hashtags #SmallBizSat #ShopSmall when posting about Small Business Saturday® and Shop Small® Movement.
Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday serves as the ceremonial kickoff to the holiday shopping season for small businesses across the United States. In 2016, an estimated 112 million consumers reported shopping at small businesses on Small Business Saturday, according to the 2016 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey.

The day was also championed by elected officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Small Business Saturday celebrates the diversity of small businesses across the U.S. and EGBI recognizes the importance of supporting small businesses, the jobs they help create, and the culture they instill in local communities.  According to the U.S. Small Businesses Administration, as of 2014, small businesses nationwide accounted for 63% of net new private-sector jobs created and represented 99.7% of firms with paid employees.

Merchants and consumers can learn more about Small Business Saturday and how to get involved by visiting ShopSmall.com.

ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY

November 25th marks the eighth annual Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to supporting the local businesses that can help create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners most pressing need: more customers. Learn more on ShopSmall.com, instagram.com/shopsmall, facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday, twitter.com/shopsmall.  Visit the Shop Small Studio. Download customizable materials and proudly display Small Business Saturday marketing materials to help remind customers that it’s great to Shop Small year-round.

Estimates are based on consumer self-reported data from the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey by National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and American Express (November 27, 2016) and do not reflect actual receipts or sales.

Tips on Small Business Videos

By Michael Mason
You might have a great product or service, but one of the mistakes people make is assuming that your customers will automatically find you, just because you are a great company. You have to remember that people in general are very visual. Wharton School of Business says that a well-produced video increases information retention by 50% and speeds up financial decisions by 72%. 90% of the communication provided by video is nonverbal, such as body language and tone of voice. In addition, there are all kinds of trust barriers that are knocked down by video, which can mean everything for your company.
What not to do when making a video:
The first mistake people make when making a video is the inclination to make something too long. Understandably, companies have a lot to say and want to say all of it. You have to remember, your videos aren’t required viewing. We find 1 minute 30 seconds is usually the sweet spot.
Another common mistake we see is people often come off as too formal in their videos. This is your chance to humanize yourself. Don’t say what you think is standard for the situation. Always speak from the heart.
What do you do with your video? 
When you have a video you have to post it in the right places. It’s great to send your video to email subscribers, people who are already familiar with you will love the personal touch of video, which will increase retention.
It’s vital to use social media, which is peerless for video sharing. Facebook alone represents a whopping 4 billion video streams a day and video sharing from one’s own network is exponentially more effective.
Posting on YouTube is an absolute must. If YouTube is considered a search engine (as it certainly should be), it is the #2 largest search engine in the world and is largely the preferred search engine for millennials.
And you need to make sure your video is prominently embedded on your website. The average time a person spends on a website with only text is 57 seconds. A website with video? 6 minutes!
Can you afford it?
Thanks to new technologies, film production is getting better and better for less and less money. The most significant cost should be the skill and creativity of the filmmaker. You need someone with a great eye for shooting and editing. With the right production team you can have something of cinematic quality for minimal cost.
Michael Mason is Owner and Executive Producer of Perfect Chaos Films in Austin, TX, a video/animation production company specialized in corporate culture videos, product explainers, commercials and feature development. 

Five Time Saving Tools for Your Business

By Jessica Kane
Today, it’s easier than ever before to use your entrepreneurial skills and get into the world of business. With the Internet, it’s possible to reach a worldwide audience from the comfort of your home or office. However, with such an increase in demand for the various products and services that are on the market, time has become a much more valuable asset. Running a business can become hectic, and you can sometimes find yourself feeling as though there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything done. When you work smarter instead of harder, however, you solve this common dilemma, and there are five time saving tools for your business you should start using now.

1. Open Platform for All to Use

Especially if you have a number of employees, it can be frustrating to make sure everyone stays in the loop when it comes to projects and other areas that require multi-departmental unity. When you consider the implementation of a project management platform, you can allow everyone in the business to weigh in and actively communicate with one remotely while making the information accessible to all. Basecamp is a software program that allows you to do just that.

2. Clutter-Free Work Space

Let’s face it. Running a business is hectic, and it may seem as though taking the time to do some housecleaning is something that’s better left on the back burner. However, when you choose to invest your time in cleaning up the office, warehouse, or other area that’s become cluttered, you can help save hours of time in the long run. For example, a cluttered filing cabinet may require you to search longer for the documents you need. While it may take you three or four hours to get it organized, it will save you even more time over the course of the coming weeks and months. If you can’t do it yourself, designate an employee to perform the job.

3. Outsourcing Your Accounting and Payroll

A great investment to make is in a qualified professional to take care of your payroll and accounting needs. Not only can they free up a substantial amount of time, but they can also make sure you stay in compliance with all laws and guidelines. You could even consider a software program such as Paychex to make the process far less complicated.

4. 1Password

You likely have numerous passwords in your life, and so do your employees. With 1Password, your life will be made much less complicated. You simply have to remember one master password, and you can quickly access all programs you want to be associated with the account.

5. Trello

Another highly innovative and effect tool business owners should be using isTrello. This app serves as a project manager and to-do list accessible by anyone you want. Here, you can create to-do lists and establish important deadlines to make sure everyone is on board. Best of all, the app is free to use.
Best Shot for Success
Every business owner wants to succeed, and the feeling you get when you’re managing and doing well at what you love is hard to compare to any other. Whether you are still in the planning stages of your business or have been in operation for a number of years, now’s the time to begin considering how you can protect the asset that’s all too commonly overlooked: your time. By considering these five time saving tools, you can quickly be on your way to your best shot for the success you deserve.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Faxage, a leading company that provide internet fax services for individuals and businesses.

Challenges for the Low-Income, Small Business Entrepreneur

by Al Lopez, EGBI Executive Director
For many people, owning their own business is a dream that may never become a reality, simply because the concept of becoming an entrepreneur is foreign.  There are a thousand reasons why low-income entrepreneurs never start their business, such as no access to start-up capital, unavailable financing due to poor credit, and limited connections to influential people.
While the challenges may seem insurmountable, there are options for low-income entrepreneurs looking to start a small business.  Here are just a few challenges you may face and how EGBI’s resources can help you:

  • Challenge 1Exposure to role models and mentors – the lack of role models and mentors is one of the main reasons why low-income entrepreneurs have difficulty starting small businesses.  Successful entrepreneurs have many role models and at least one mentor available to them at all times.  To overcome this challenge, you should reach out to other entrepreneurs, attend functions where you can meet others that have started successful businesses, and take advantage of the network of professionals and resources available at EGBI. We enjoy creating mentor/mentee relationships with our clients, so don’t hesitate reaching out to us to schedule a consultation.
  • Challenge 2Failure to see Entrepreneurship as a career option – because many low-income people do not have the same exposure to entrepreneurs, they often fail to see the benefit of being an entrepreneur.  Individuals who have the desire, need to have encouragement.  To overcome this challenge, make an effort to meet others with the same desires.  The programs available at EGBI will help provide you the encouragement you need to become a successful small business entrepreneur, and allow you to envision this as your career.
  • Challenge 3Misunderstanding of basic financial literacy – because low-income people have little money, they often lack the basic knowledge in regards to finances.  Understanding basic finances, such as balancing a checkbook, understanding credit, and more, will not only help you pay off debt and improve your credit rating, but will give you the ability to raise capital to fund your new business.  Learning financial management is a great resource available to you at EGBI through our entrepreneurial training.
  • Challenge 4Finding access to capital – no matter what type of business you wish to start, it is beneficial to understand and know how to find access to the necessary capital.  Since most low-income entrepreneurs have limited resources, such as family, friends, or their own money, they must rely on finding other avenues to fund their start-ups.  There is an abundance of resources available today for new entrepreneurs looking to start a business – you just need to know where to look. A good place to start is the upcoming Central Texas Small Business Forum on Oct. 14th.

Becoming an entrepreneur is a dream that many people have, but seldom is that dream made a reality.  For many reasons, people will squash their dream, simply because they lack the knowledge to start.  However, there are many programs available to help you become a small business owner and start you on the path to success and financial freedom.  You simply need to take the first step – contact EGBI today to see how we can help you make your dream a reality!

Listening to your clients matters – A LOT

What does client feedback buy your fledgling business?

Provides information.

Is your offering good or what needs to change? We think we have a great product or service, especially if our business is doing well. But staying in tune with customers is critical feedback.

Helps you keep customers.

Sometimes even if the customer wasn’t thrilled with your service, getting their feedback is a great way to let them know you care about how the experience went. It is much more profitable to keep existing customers than to constantly acquire new ones.

Improves your product or service.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses from the customer’s perspective is the start of how you may want to modify your offering. If you do get some strong feedback that something needs to change, that is great signal that you may lose customers if you don’t modify your offering.

Identifies clients that can promote you.

Client referrals are invaluable. When you get good feedback, you may find a client that wants to endorse you.  That is the most powerful promotion vehicle that will keep you out in front of your competition.

So, what do we do at EGBI If you have been following our exploits we have had four very good years since our re-launch of the organization in 2011 when it supported only 16 clients that were in business. As of 2014, we now have over 100 small businesses represented by our clients that did over $10 million in revenue last year. We have improved our curriculum and services during that time period.  We also added the capability for clients to take our class remotely as a result of their input.  But, did we think we were done?  We actually conducted a focus group in December to get real feedback from our clients… who by all measures endorsed EGBI heartily.  We still got some great constructive feedback. What resulted was a few of key changes that are already paying dividends.

The recent changes we’ve made: We are now offering ourCurso Empresarial (Spanish/Bi-lingual) course in the evening; we have developed an introductory workshop that has attracted many new clients; we developed a Marketing, Sales, and Customer Relations curriculum; finally, we created a modular approach to our program so that clients can take either the Marketing, Sales, & Customer Relationssessions or the Business Financials & Accounting session, or both. Even with the modular approach, our clients see the value of our other services.

So, although based on EGBI’s success, our offerings were strong, it’s not the best approach to keep doing what you (think you) “know” the clients need… what they want is very critical. Every business should be vigilant in the arena of securing and taking action based on customer feedback.

2013 Blog Posts

2013 Blog Posts

What We Are Thankful for

Al Lopez, December 16, 2013

Thanksgiving may have just passed, but I have not stopped being thankful for another great year here at EGBI!

Just before the holiday, we celebrated our last graduation for clients who completed our entrepreneurship training.  In all, this year we had 80 individuals complete at least 30 hours of business training and present their business plan to their class and the EGBI staff.  The graduation celebrated a wonderful blend of new and developing partnerships, including Las Comadres para las Americas, University of Texas Pan Am Veteran’s Center, El Buen Samaritano, and FuturoFund. Read more…

Mother and Daughter Business Kicks Off at EGBI

By Nayeli Gallegos, December 13, 2013

Bea Baylor worked as a full time nurse for 20 years. At the same time, for the last seven years, she had been informally running her business from home… providing her services for free most of the time. As a 13 year cancer survivor, Bea has been an advocate for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, helping them create a journey to healing. She wrote the book “My Tribulations Made Me Fabulous” which will be published in 2014, and she was featured in the latest issue of Renewed Magazine. Read more…

EGBI Client Opens Food Trailer on Rainey Street

By Al Lopez, July 30, 2013

About two thirds of EGBI graduates wind up starting a business. In most cases, taking into account their learning, they decide to delay the start to do it in a better prepared way. This is the case of Vann Brown, who graduated from Building Success Program in August 2011. All of last year, she worked on developing her plan, continued to getting business training, attended a couple of our workshops, networked at our Annual Reunion, and kept EGBI in the loop of her progress.

On May 26th, we were thrilled to attend the grand opening of My Granny’s Kitchen food trailer on the fairly exclusive Rainey Street downtown. Read more…

Support EGBI’s First e-Raiser!

Our first online and social media fundraiser, April 16-May 16, 2013

By Al Lopez, April 17, 2013

Last October, I wrote about why I support EGBI, hoping to stimulate some additional support for our organization.  Well, needless to say, I was pretty gratified by the results we experienced last fall…

…In an effort to continue to broaden our outreach and diversify our supporters—folks who know about and are willing to invest in EGBI—we’re holding our first ever online and social media fundraiser over the next four weeks.  What we would like to do is have as many of our connections (and their connections) commit to a $25 donation to EGBIRead more…

Is Collaborating Really Beneficial?

By Al Lopez, March 28, 2013

In the last couple of years, as I have navigated around the nonprofit/public sector, I’ve observed very different levels of organizations that are willing to work together when it may be in the very best interest of the clients they serve and the mission they purport to have. Read more…

I know we’ve talked about this, but ARE YOU FINANCIALLY FIT?

By Al Lopez, March 19, 2013

Our initial session for EGBI’s small business startup training is Boot Camp. Many of you have taken it, and I know that many wonder why we are starting our “how to start a business” program with a class on personal finances and credit. However, it is surprising to me how many of the clients who begin our program have very little idea when it comes to their financial obligations, book-keeping and overall financial fitness. So we start with the basics and build on that. Read more…

What kind of clients come to EGBI? Client feature: Teresa Valenzuela-Basa

By Al Lopez, February, 2013

The diversity of our clients is an element that makes our experience here at EGBI especially interesting and rewarding. At one end of the spectrum, we have folks who don’t yet have a specific business but feel that sometime in the future they will start a business. At the other end, we have clients who already have a business developing, but have reached a point where they realize they really need and want to have a more formal business plan, such was the case of Teresa Valenzuela-Basa. Read more…

EGBI Client Highlight: Home Help Services by Verobran

By Nayeli Gallegos, January, 2013

Veronica Trevisan is the Co-Owner of Home Help Services by Verobran along with Branbilia Mendoza. They offer home support services, a combination of residential cleaning and home health care. Veronica, a native from Argentina and Branbilia (Bran), a native from Mexico, met each other in 2006 while working for a Mexican Taqueria. Read more…

Happy Holidays from EGBI

By Al Lopez, December 2012

As we approach the holiday season, we reflect on the great year we had. We are thankful to be in a place that nurtures the entrepreneurial spirit and contributes to the development of our community; we are thankful for our growing list of clients and supporters; and we are thankful for everything we accomplished in 2012.  Read more…