10 Local Businesses Receive Grants During Small Business Week

Wells Fargo and the Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) hosted a listening session with 10 Austin-based small business owners to highlight their testimonials of resilience and perseverance during this year’s National Small Business Week.  During the celebratory event, Wells Fargo awarded EGBI with a $30,000 grant that will enable the nonprofit to continue empowering businesses, while expanding economic development in Austin’s underserved communities. In addition, each of the 10 small businesses were surprised with $1,000 grants to help aid in the success of their respective businesses. The businesses included:

  • Armonia – Armonia is the cultivation of Latin heritage,  celebrating the connection of home and body through nurturing goods that evoke the memories and home essentials that carry stories.
  • Better Foundation Fitness  – BFF identifies major issues that hinder fitness milestones and teaches effective workouts that build the best version of their clients including individuals overcoming injuries.
  • Collected Abundance  Julianna Chung is a professional organizer and owner of Collected Abundance. She serves seniors, families and individuals to declutter together at home for a stress-free, more organized life. Julianna is here for you during life transitions and disaster relief, building a caring community together!
  • Dulce’s Cleaning Services – This company takes pride in offering exceptional cleaning services for your home and community. From residential and commercial cleanings to construction cleanup, office maintenance, Airbnb turnovers, and events, this company provides exceptional quality service every step of the way.
  • Gaines Royal Transport  – Gaines Royal Transport (GRT) is a non-emergency medical transportation service that provides rides to mostly seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Kitty Bird Photo – Photographer is a connection artist that captured warm and expressive images of business events and branding portraits for small businesses and entrepreneurs in Austin. As a collaborative and creative, she offers genuine images that elevate brands and foster community at business events. 
  • LCR Food Services, LLC – Make every occasion a culinary masterpiece with Canapé by Marianne Renauld. LCR Food Services specializes in crafting visually stunning grazing tables and providing personalized catering experiences.
  • Reycast Media  – Reycast Media LLC creates high quality video for broadcast distribution and engaging social media content (video & audio) for brands and businesses. With two decades of experience in the broadcast industry, Reycast Media brings your vision to life in English & Spanish.
  • Smiley’s Recycling & Resale –  Smiley’s Junk Removal and Recycling believes that a difference can be made in the impact on landfills only by recycling, reusing, and up-cycling the items picked up from residents and businesses of Austin, TX and the surrounding area.
  • Kiki Roman hair designer – Full service hair services with specialty in hair color.

“EGBI has been a strong advocate and resource for the small business community in Austin,” said Christopher Rios, Wells Fargo Vice President of Community Impact and Philanthropy. “We understand that access to capital remains a key barrier for minority-owned and-led businesses. We hope that these grants will serve as an extended lifeline to help EGBI and these inspiring business owners continue to flourish and serve their mission.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses play a significant role in the economic landscape of Texas, comprising 99.8% of all businesses in the state. These businesses employ 4.9 million individuals, representing 44.5% of the workforce in Texas.

The listening session allowed Wells Fargo to hear from the struggles, milestones, and successes that 10 small business owners and clients of EGBI have experienced in the last year. The small business owners who participated have demonstrated exceptional dedication and resilience in their entrepreneurial pursuits with the support of the Economic Growth Business Incubator in 2023. These entrepreneurs shared their experiences of overcoming challenges and driving growth in their businesses and communities. The business owners are a mix of the different industries that represent the true face of small business owners in our community, including a hairdresser, a cleaning company, a media production company, a photographer, a residential organizer, a transportation company, a personal trainer, a product retailer, and junk removal company. In 2023, nearly 500 individuals in the Austin area have benefited from the comprehensive coaching, training, and support provided by EGBI to aspiring and existing business owners facing barriers to success. EGBI was presented with a proclamation honoring their commitment to helping small business flourish in Austin.

“In May 2023, EGBI was named the number one business incubator in the city of Austin by the Austin Business Journal due to number of local businesses assisted,” said Larissa Davila, Executive Director of EGBI. “Our vision is to empower every small business to become profitable, sustainable, and an asset to the community, we try to reduce as many barriers as possible we can for the small business owners to be successful.”

Find the Spanish version here.

Effective Cost Control Strategies for your Business: Maximizing Efficiency and Minimizing Expenses

By Neel Kakkad 

Effective cost control is essential for maintaining profitability and staying ahead of the curve for your business. By identifying and reducing unnecessary expenses while optimizing operational processes, businesses can unlock their full potential and achieve long-term financial success. In this blog, we will explore practical cost control strategies to help you streamline operations, negotiate better vendor deals, and implement cost-saving measures.

1. Conduct a Comprehensive Cost Analysis

The first step in effective cost control is understanding where your money is going. Conduct a thorough cost analysis to identify all expenses, both major and minor. Then, categorize these expenses and assess their significance in relation to your overall business operations. Often, seemingly insignificant costs can add up over time, impacting your bottom line

2. Optimize Operational Processes

Inefficient operational processes can lead to wastage of time, resources, and money. Look closely at your workflow and identify bottlenecks or redundant tasks that hinder productivity. Consider implementing process automation and adopting technology solutions to streamline operations. 

3. Embrace Sustainable Practices

Sustainability not only benefits the environment but can also be cost-effective in the long run. Consider adopting eco-friendly practices that reduce waste and energy consumption. This may include recycling initiatives, energy-efficient lighting, or using sustainable packaging materials. Not only will these efforts lower costs, but they can also enhance your brand image and attract environmentally conscious customers.

4. Analyze Inventory Management

Excessive inventory ties up capital and increases storage costs, while insufficient inventory can lead to missed sales opportunities and rush orders. Conduct a comprehensive inventory analysis to strike the right balance. Utilize inventory management software to track stock levels, forecast demand, and optimize ordering processes.

5. Encourage Cost-Conscious Culture

Fostering a cost-conscious culture among your employees is vital for sustainable cost control. Educate your team about the importance of financial responsibility and involve them in identifying cost-saving opportunities. Implement reward programs for cost-saving ideas that are successfully implemented. When everyone in the organization is committed to cost control, it becomes an integral part of your business’s DNA.

Effective cost control is a continuous process that requires vigilance, adaptability, and an eye for improvement. By conducting comprehensive cost analysis, optimizing operational processes, negotiating with vendors, embracing sustainability, analyzing inventory management, and encouraging a cost-conscious culture, your business can maximize efficiency and minimize expenses. Small cost-saving measures can add up over time and have a significant impact on your business’s financial health. Embrace a proactive approach to cost control, and you’ll position your business for sustainable growth and success in the face of ever-changing market dynamics.

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.

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.