Meet EGBI Volunteer – Elsa Iris Reyes

By Hilary Enriquez

Elsa Iris Reyes was born in Chicago to an immigrant Mexican family. She moved to Austin in 2016 on a whim, but ended up meeting amazing friends and decided to build a life in Austin, Texas. Her time is mostly spent with loved ones. She stays as active as she can by playing tennis, going out for long runs along the trails, and working on small projects around the house. She especially enjoys traveling around the world and learning about the history and cultures of the places she visits.

Elsa has over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and accounting and now serves as Vice President of Finance at IronClad Consulting. Her clients range from pre-revenue to pre-IPO stage companies in food, beverage, natural food supplements, and software. Most of her clients are venture backed and high growth companies eager to share their products and mission. She enjoys sharing her technical knowledge and experience with her clients in efforts to scale their businesses to meet an ever changing business environment.

Elsa shares her experience as a volunteer with EGBI.

Share a fun fact with us.

I have ran 3 marathons. They were all in Austin. I was not the fastest, but I finished all of them.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

My friend Yolanda Davila and fellow board member, invited me to an EGBI event. I immediately felt connected with the community and mission of the organization.

Why do you volunteer for EGBI?

I believe in the mission to invest in entrepreneurs to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to achieve their goals. The entrepreneurs in our community can often face added barriers of language and lack of knowledge of how to navigate a business environment. EGBI helps to close this gap through their services and continued efforts to elevate and honor small businesses we serve.

How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

I am very proud of the work EGBI does. The work the organization does gives me hope that there are ways to ensure that everyone with the vision and dream to start a business can do it with some help.

Want to get involved ? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI CLient – Alexander M. Williams

By Hilary Enriquez

Aura Rainwater is the brainchild of Alexander M. Williams, conceived while meditating one morning.  Combining the concepts of Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research, which show the inherent vibration of positive and negative words can change the physical structure of water, with the intrinsic and unique properties of rainwater, Alexander knew that something special was being birthed.  Mr. Williams is the quintessential ‘Jack of All Trades, Master of Many.’ He has spread his wings in many areas including finance, small business development, child and adolescent development, adolescent substance abuse treatment and support, community development, fundraising and more!

Alexander is a firm believer that we do not have a water scarcity problem. “We have water abundance, but do not understand how to access this living gift from nature.” Founded in 2018, Aura Rainwater represents a collective of individuals that know the importance of rainwater, and that energy is information that has a great influence on everyone and everything in life – including water! Alexander knows in his heart that Aura Rainwater is a realistic  solution to the water needs for all of our communities as well as a solution to true hydration of the body.

Alexander shares his experience as a client with EGBI.

Share a fun fact with us.

The most incredible natural phenomena I’ve ever seen were Halos.  They were common when I lived in Italy and often seen on my visits to Switzerland.

How did you first get involved with EGBI? 

My involvement with EGBI goes back 6 months.  After hearing a presentation by Joni Foster, EGBI’s Program Director, and meeting with both Joni and Monica the relationship started.  Their positive vibes and high energy passion for helping people and businesses shinned.

Why is it important to support organizations such as EGBI?

EGBI provides both tangible and intangible resources.  This is important for entrepreneurs like myself to preserve capital and gain support to accelerate our businesses. The unique support and customized services help fuel business potential.   

“Working with EGBI has been an eye opening experience! There is ongoing mentorship and coaching support with no fixed start or end date from the staff.” – Alexander Williams

How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

The power of networking is one of the most important elements in owning a business.  My involvement with EGBI has given me the networking power to expand professionally by meeting other business owners in the community and understanding the growing pains of scaling a business. Personally, it has helped me further develop my communication skills by sharing exactly what I need from those around me.

If you would like to find out more on how EGBI can assist you in starting or growing your small business, please click the link for information in English or Spanish.

Train and coach

Small Business Week for Central Texas Business Owners

For more than 50 years, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has celebrated National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. National Small Business Week is celebrated during the first week of May every year and takes place from April 30 to May 6 this year. As a local partner organization in Central Texas of Small Business Administration (SBA), Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) is looking to close the gap of information from informal business to bankable businesses.

EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners in central Texas who face barriers to growing a successful business. These barriers can be financial literacy, cultural awareness, education, and capital.

Through out the year, EGBI equips small business owners to a road of success through trainings on building a business plan, automating their business, and 90 days to success. Support services include free legal clinic twice a year and setting up Quickbooks for your business by appointment.

Most importantly, EGBI offers individualized help to central Texas business owners through business coaching to new or growing businesses. This may include bookkeeping support, marketing assistance, techinical training on apps to save a business time, or helping to reach business goals. Read more and register today for business coaching services in English and Spanish by clicking HERE.

Meet EGBI Volunteer – John B. McLellan

By Hilary Enriquez

John B. McLellan has over 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, strategic planning, sales and marketing program development and project management. He founded Search 2 Sales, LLC in 2004, an advertising consulting firm that helps small and medium-sized businesses effectively implement Pay-Per-Click advertising on platforms such as Google Ads & Microsoft Advertising.
Prior to founding Search 2 Sales, John worked at the Hewlett-Packard Company for over 25
years in a variety of sales, consulting and leadership positions across many of HP’s business
segments. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.

John shares his experience as a volunteer with EGBI.

Share a fun fact with us.

I hold dual citizenship with the US and Canada.

How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I first got involved with EGBI when I applied to volunteer on a project they posted on Catchafire. Catchafire is an online marketplace where nonprofits post projects that require a particular set of skills and individuals with those skills can volunteer. In this case, EGBI had received a grant for free advertising on Google, using the platform called Google Ads. EGBI selected me to help them develop an advertising campaign and teach them the skills that would enable them to optimize and expand on what we created.

Why do you volunteer for EGBI?

I believe that public service in any form, is not only an obligation, but a source of personal development and self-fulfillment. I currently serve on the board and as a volunteer for several nonprofits. I consider myself fortunate to have a skillset that even in my retirement years, is still relevant and in demand. Fortunately, I am able to work with organizations and individuals literally around the world, from the comfort of my home in Dallas. EGBI is one of several nonprofits I have helped with their Google Ads accounts over the years.

How has your involvement with EGBI helped you grow professionally and personally?

The time that I spend is personally gratifying because Monica is such a joy to work with. She sees the potential for the work we are doing and is excited whenever she makes progress or sees a new opportunity. For me professionally, I have grown by learning the ever-changing nuances of the Google Ad Grant program and how it differs from the advertising normally used by paying customers of Google Ads.

Want to get involved ? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

EGBI Nombra a Larissa Davila como Directora Ejecutiva

Después de una exhaustiva búsqueda dirigida por su junta directiva, Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), una organización sin fines de lucro que ofrecer apoyo empresarial en Austin, nombró a Larissa Davila como su próxima directora ejecutiva. Ella se incorporará al equipo el 27 de marzo de 2023.

Durante los últimos 8 años, Dávila ha sido propietaria de BCO Consulting Group, que ofrece servicios a propietarios de micro, pequeñas y medianas empresas, agencias gubernamentales y organizaciones sin fines de lucro en torno a la planificación estratégica, elaboración de presupuestos, estrategia de precios, mejoras de procesos, investigación de mercado, servicios de marketing y alcance comunitario bilingüe. Larissa fundó su empresa después de una década de experiencia corporativa con corporaciones como Bentoli, FedEx y Sony Corporation. Su experiencia incluye gestión de comunidades, proyectos y procesos, logística internacional, atención al cliente y negocios en general. También se desempeñó como Directora Ejecutiva de LACE, Latino Arts, Culture and Education y Amhiga Hispana en Austin.

Dávila no es ajena a EGBI. Ella ha impartido muchos talleres de EGBI, brindado experiencia voluntaria a los clientes y en 2022 fue nombrada Voluntaria del Año de EGBI. Actualmente esta trabajando para obtener su Maestría en Negocios en la Universidad de Texas. 

“Larissa es una excelente opción para EGBI. Ha sido una líder activa en la comunidad de Austin y una fiel voluntaria de EGBI”, dijo Mike Lancaster, presidente de la junta de EGBI y Senior Vicepresident de Broadway Bank.

Estaremos presentándole a nuestra comunidad a la nueva Directora Ejecutiva de EGBI, Larissa Davila en nuestro evento #WeAreEGBI Happy Hour. Ven y conoce sobre su visión para la organización y las pequeñas empresas locales. Regístrate hoy para reservar tu lugar:

EGBI es una organización sin fines de lucro que trabaja en el centro de Texas con la misión de brindar capacitación, orientación y apoyo a los propietarios de negocios existentes y aspirantes que enfrentan barreras como el conocimiento, las finanzas o el idioma. En 2022, EGBI brindó servicios a más de 360 propietarios de negocios existentes y aspirantes en el centro de Texas. Nuestros clientes reportaron en 2022 ingresos de más de $34 millones. EGBI brinda servicios en inglés y español.

EGBI names Larissa Davila as Executive Director

Austin, TX – After an extensive search process led by members of its board of directors, Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), a nonprofit business support organization in Austin, has named Larissa Davila as their next Executive Director. She begins her tenure on March 27, 2023.

For the past 8 years, Davila has been owner of BCO Consulting Group, offering services to micro, small and mid-sized business owners, government agencies and nonprofit organizations around strategic planning, budgeting, pricing strategy, process improvements, market research, marketing services, and bi-lingual community outreach. Larissa started her company after about a decade of corporate experience with Bentoli, Inc, Fed Ex and Sony Corporation. Her experience includes community project and process management, international logistics, customer support, and business in general. She also served as the Executive Director of LACE, the Latino Arts, Culture & Education Organization and Amhiga Hispana in Austin.

Davila is no stranger to EGBI. She has taught many EGBI workshops, provided volunteer expertise to clients, and in 2022 was named EGBI Volunteer of the Year. Currently working towards her MBA at the University of Texas, Davila is married and has a son at home.

“Larissa is a great choice for EGBI. She has been an active leader in the Austin community and a faithful volunteer to EGBI,” said Mike Lancaster, EGBI board chair and VP at Broadway Bank.

Come out to support EGBI and network with business owners in Central Texas at EGBI’s fundraiser, #WeAreEGBI Happy Hour on April 19th from 6 PM to 8 PM at Simar Seafood Cocina.  EGBI’s new Executive Director, Larissa  Davila will speak about her vision for the organization and local small business.   Register HERE.

­EGBI is a non-profit organization working in Central Texas with the mission of providing training, coaching and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers such as knowledge, finances, or language. In 2022, EGBI provided services to over 360 aspiring and existing business owners in Central Texas. EGBI provides services in English and Spanish.

Meet EGBI’s Summer Program Intern- Aamir Kutianawala

By Alison Flangel

Meet Aamir Kutianawala, a summer program intern at EGBI. Aamir has been working with EGBI for the summer. He is a rising junior at Westwood High School and would like to go more into business/marketing as he progresses with his education. Outside of school and EGBI, Aamir is part of his school’s debate team, robotics team, DECA team, and various others as well. He loves playing and watching sports in his free time, and has also been pursuing guitar on the side!

Aamir shares his experience as a volunteer with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

I have been learning to play the guitar for 3 years.

How have you been involved with EGBI?

I have been working on a variety of tasks, but mainly help clients/business owners with finances and marketing. I also provide broad support by making lectures for entire groups of clients, along with helping to complete any general tasks.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer at EGBI?

I think it’s important to work with EGBI to support disadvantaged business owners, and help bridge the gap with underrepresented groups in business.

What has your favorite experience with EGBI been so far?

My favorite experience has been taking and editing pictures for a client’s Etsy shop.

“EGBI helps you make a difference in the community.”– Aamir Kutianawala

In 2021, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Ken make this possible and continue to help EGBI pursue their mission of training, coaching, and supporting aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Meet EGBI’s Summer Program Intern- Shamitha Ramanan

By Alison Flangel

Hi! My name is Shamitha and I have been with EGBI for a month now and it has been an enriching experience. I am an incoming senior at Westwood High School, and as my education progresses, I hope to pursue a degree in finance or management. Outside of EGBI, I am in my school’s orchestra, Academy Ambassador program, GenShe, and several other clubs and honor societies.

Shamitha shares her experience as an intern with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?

A fun fact about me is that I grew up mainly in London, England, and California.

How have you been involved with EGBI?

I mainly do research and analysis for clients’ businesses to see where they can improve financially. I’ve also recently worked on importing and exporting goods, bookkeeping, and more.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer at EGBI?

EGBI allows you to connect with people from all kinds of different backgrounds and changes your perspective on business and the world around you.

What has your favorite experience with EGBI been so far?

My favorite experience has been attending the 90 Days business workshop. I’ve been able to connect with a lot of different people and learn about their businesses and inspirations. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with them one-on-one to help expand their businesses.  

“EGBI provides you the opportunity to learn new skills, communicate, and network.” – Shamitha Ramanan

In 2021, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Ken make this possible and continue to help EGBI pursue their mission of training, coaching, and supporting aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

Want to get involved too? Contact us to find out how you can volunteer or donate.

Trello for businesses

Trello for Small Business Owners

By Shamitha Ramanan

Trello is a web-based project management program with an easy-to-use interface and a lot of flexibility for organizations of all sizes and sectors. It’s an excellent option for entrepreneurs and company owners searching for a low-cost solution. Trello’s base plan is free, but they do offer two paid versions: Business Class and Enterprise.


The first thing people will notice that distinguishes this platform from others is that it has no restriction on the number of projects, users, or tasks. The site also provides templates that are customized to specific sorts of tasks. 

Trello divides projects into boards, similar to the software in Pinterest, and divides diverse chores into easy, basic phases. Time-sensitive activities may be assigned a due date and time, and when done, just drag and drop them into the next phase of your board.

Productivity & Creativity

Whether you’re working on a design sprint that has to be structured into phases or a creative project for your newest client that needs to go through numerous review procedures before completion, the platform can help you get everything organized and done as efficiently as possible. 

Product Development

Trello may help you assign tasks to different members of your team and keep track of product phases and deadlines.


If you want to organize your sales cycle with Trello, the software makes it quite straightforward. Lists may be established to track lead information, score, and status, and team members can be allocated to different cards. 

In one page, you can move cards down your pipeline, designate due dates for tasks for your clients, attach necessary documents, and keep track of where your leads are in your sales or CRM pipelines.

Event Planning 

Trello is also a wonderful tool for event planning, even if you are not a professional event planner.  You may make a board for a specific event and lists to help you keep track of deadlines, task status, and dates.

Save money

Actions to reduce operating costs

By Shamitha Ramanan

By lowering your operating costs, you can outperform your competitors. Small business entrepreneurs ought to constantly hunt for strategies to save costs without compromising the caliber of their goods or services. 

Consider these suggestions to lower your company’s operational expenses and possibly increase revenue:

1. Automate tasks

Numerous internet platforms and software tools are available that help streamline and automate a small business’ daily operations. Numerous functions, like bookkeeping, website hosting, marketing communications, payroll, and others, can be handled by these systems. 

Technology is beneficial because it encourages productivity. Efficiency results in lower operational expenses, especially for things like direct labor.

2. Outsource 

Delegating certain jobs to subject matter specialists will help you save money and provide even better outcomes. Marketing and advertising are two areas that gain most from outsourcing. Certain operations can be outsourced as a long-term investment that pays off in the long run.

3. Find a freelancer

It’s one thing to outsource your IT department or human resources’ requirements, but what about routine tasks? In your company, freelancers might step in to cover tasks that aren’t always required. 

It makes little sense to hire a full-time staff for sporadic demands.

4. Pay your bills in advance

Many suppliers may give you a discount if you pay your bill ahead of time. Savings of even 2%–3% every billing cycle can add up quickly. 

To minimize any late fees or other penalties, make sure to at the very least pay your invoices on time. The same holds true for any other debt you have, including loans. If you are late or start missing payments, your interest costs might rise.

5. Think eco-friendly

Your company’s running costs go up when you print everything from fliers and catalogs to internal papers. Encourage staff to print papers only when absolutely required, and if you must print a catalog, purchase a size that will prevent any from ending up in the recycling. 

Compact fluorescent lighting should be used to save heating and cooling expenses, and physical waste should be reduced. To save energy, disconnect the equipment from any unused workstations to decrease electricity usage. You’ll save money on monthly office supplies prices in addition to electricity bills.