The Economic Growth Business Incubator receives the Platinum Seal of Transparency for 2024 by Candid.

We are honored to receive Platinum Seal of Transparency for 2024 by Candid. The Platinum Transparency Rating is the highest level a nonprofit can achieve, signifying an exceptional commitment to transparency in sharing, our goals, strategies, financial data, capabilities, achievements, and progress. 

Learn more about EGBI and this award: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/90-0128899

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 EGBI   |   Austin, TX   |  https://egbi.org/

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SummaryPrograms + ResultsFinancialsOperations

PLATINUM2024

Mission

The Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. Barriers include education, finance, and language. We believe that all businesses should be profitable, sustainable, and an asset to the community.

Notes from the nonprofit

Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) is a non-profit organization which provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. EGBI believes that all businesses should be profitable, sustainable and an asset to the community. To that end, we offer a comprehensive package of business coaching, group workshops, and support services for aspiring and existing businesses. We frequently work with micro and small business owners and a lot of the businesses that we work with are still in the design state and are not active yet; or they have been in business for less than five years. Some of the businesses who partner with E.G.B.I. could be considered informal businesses and the owners are ready to transition into a more structured business entity. Typical businesses that partner with E.G.B.I. are mom & pop businesses and lifestyle businesses.

Executive Director: Larissa Davila

Main address

1144 Airport Blvd Ste 260

Austin, TX 78702 USA

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

The Economic Growth Business Incubator aims to be a better organization and increase our impact in the community while moving towards a more self-sustainable model for funding because we want to… Read more

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization’s current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Training, Coaching and Support

EGBI is industry-agnostic, in that we work with aspiring and existing business owners who bring the expertise around their idea; and we bring business practices, strategic thinking, and other resources.
Many of our clients come with years of industry experience; but lacking opportunities to advance in their place of employment, choose to start their own business. Their knowledge of the industry gives them the competitive advantage to be successful. However, they often lack the business acumen to manage a successful business. Through our training, coaching, and support services, we assist our clients to understand how to run and manage their business effectively and efficiently.

TRAINING
EGBI’s signature program is a two-part, foundational workshop series: Build Your Business PLAN and MANAGE the ABCs of Business. These workshops are geared to help participants focus on their business idea, develop a useful plan, and learn the tools to manage their business.

COACHING
EGBI offers private coaching sessions: one-on-one time for clients to explore deeply their business idea and strategy. Coaches help clients develop their business model, create financial projections using spreadsheets, identify specific strategies for marketing their business, and work through next-step action plans with an accountability partner in EGBI. Private coaching often uncovers life issues and barriers in the way of moving forward; and the opportunity to identify experts, resources, tools, and opportunities to resolve these issues.

SERVICES
EGBI offers bookkeeping support, helping our clients set up manual systems for very young businesses, and moving to QuickBooks Online as soon as it makes sense. EGBI can offer an hour of questions and answers, set up services, support for payroll through an online partner, and monthly reconciliation services. As part of our monthly service, we review financial statements with our clients, practicing how to use these statements to manage and grow.

Find the Spanish Version here.

So, You Want to Pay People

By Anwuli Chukwurah

You finally have enough money to pay people. Your business is growing, and you want to streamline your vendor and payroll operations. There are two types of people expenses: 1099 contractors and W2 employees. 1099 contractors are people or vendors you hire to help with a business problem. You can’t control how and when they do their job. You sign a contract with the contractor with an expected deliverable and hope to get the agreed-upon deliverable. A W2 employee is someone that you can control how and when they do their job. You pay their payroll taxes via your payroll system. They would also receive company benefits such as health care insurance and paid time off.

4 tools you can use to pay your contractors/vendors and employees:¹

  1. W2 Employees & Contractors: Gusto and Justworks
  2. Contractors/Vendors Only: Ramp and Melio

Gusto

Gusto is a payroll and HR platform for small to medium-sized businesses. It’s not free. Most payroll platforms are not free and have a monthly base cost plus a per-employee fee. I do not like dealing with the headaches that come with payroll, as there are many different rules and regulations based on where your employees live. Instead, I would outsource this to a system that will ensure all correct forms and taxes are paid and filed. Yes, you can do this yourself, but it’s best to focus your energy on what will grow the company rather than being bogged down by payroll and HR paperwork.

You can also get healthcare benefits through Gusto for your company. Gusto takes a week to implement if you’ve never had an employee before. It’ll take longer if you have historical payroll and employee information that needs to be entered to make sure everything looks right and the proper payroll taxes are being paid. It can also pay contractors, but I suggest using Ramp or Melio for better details and controls.

Justworks

Justworks Payroll is another payroll platform for small to medium-sized businesses. It’s not free, but it provides the same capabilities as Gusto and allows you to be set up within a week. The only downside is that it operates in fewer states than Gusto. Again, the system will ensure all correct forms and taxes are filed and paid. The difference between Justworks and Gusto is that Justworks has a more extensive payroll product, Justworks PEO, that will allow you access to better healthcare benefits for your team. So, if you want to transition to this product, you can start with Justworks. If you’re looking at costs, go with Gusto, as it’s less expensive on a monthly basis.

Ramp

I’ve discussed Ramp several times as my top option for paying your vendors and contractors. It’s a free system that allows you to pay your vendors via ACH, check, or card and create virtual/physical credit cards for your team. It also allows you to implement controls such as not allowing any bills to be paid unless a second person in the team approves the expense. It’s very easy to set up and can be used within three days. It takes three days because your account has to be approved to be on the system. As a business, you need at least $75K in your bank, as that’s how they calculate your card limit without requiring your personal credit score. If you don’t have this amount yet, you can use Melio to pay your vendors until you need business credit cards for your team.

Melio

Melio is a free system that allows you to pay your bills and contractors via ACH, card, or check. It also allows you to pay your international contractors with a transaction fee as well. It’s straightforward to set up and use from the first day. It syncs with Quickbooks Online, so all bills paid via Melio are already recorded in your financials. Before Quickbooks Online rolled out its native bill pay option, it partnered with Melio. It also allows you to implement approval workflows — making sure the right bills are getting paid and no bills are paid without the approval of a designated manager.


Choosing one tool from each category will solve all your operation needs when paying people. The great thing about these tools is that they integrate with your accounting system, such as Quickbooks Online. So, there will be no double work to ensure all payment transactions are recorded. They will also guarantee you collect the right forms from your vendors/contractors and employees. Nothing is more annoying than finding out you need a form from a vendor you stopped paying eight months ago. Now you must send the awkward email, hoping they respond with the requested form.

About the author:

Anwuli Chukwurah is a versatile finance professional with a track record of starting new finance organizations and scaling them for growth in fast-paced entrepreneurial environments. She has over 6+ years of experience working with small business owners, startups, and nonprofit organizations to help connect finance with their business goals. She aims to ensure her clients become comfortable and adept at navigating their numbers. She works with clients at Woolichooks and writes a newsletter for non-finance folks.

Find the Spanish version here.

Meet EGBI Volunteer: Pamela Chow

By Rutu Ruparel

Pamela Chow, a Houston-based entrepreneur-in-training with roots in Tampico, Mexico, is currently pursuing a double major in Business Honors and Finance at the University of Texas at Austin. Inspired by her family’s entrepreneurial legacy, Pamela is actively involved in The Undergraduate Real Estate Society and the Hispanic Finance Association as she works towards her dream of launching a Real Estate company with her two sisters. Outside of her studies, Pamela finds joy in sports, photography, and adventure. As a volunteer at EGBI, Pamela channels her passion for community engagement by making a meaningful impact through her contributions to events and blog writing.

Pamela Chow shares her experience as a volunteer with EGBI.

What is a fun fact about you?

I have an identical twin sister.

How has working at EGBI benefited you professionally and personally?

As a student at UT Austin, EGBI has helped me keep in touch with the world outside of the classroom. Since I am studying business, volunteering at EGBI has helped me learn from business owners in Austin and learn from their unique experiences in starting a business. It has helped me see the reality of entrepreneurship and learn that all you need is an idea and some support to be successful. Also, I have grown as a public speaker by being part of the Toastmasters club on Wednesdays where I learn the critical skill of public speaking alongside business owners in Austin.

What motivated you to volunteer with EGBI?

One of my older friends volunteered here during her time in college and recommended me to volunteer. She told me it was a great way to gain experience while helping my community.

Are there specific aspects of your volunteer work with EGBI that you find particularly rewarding, and why?

One of the most rewarding work I have done is being able to meet some successful business owners to see how they have succeeded. I find it incredible to find out how they took a leap of faith and with the help of EGBI were able to grow their businesses and succeed.

What personally resonates with you about EGBI’s mission and work?

EGBI prides itself in removing barriers and I personally resonate with this because I find it so important to help those in our community that English isn’t their first language. Coming from Mexico myself, I see how difficult it is to communicate your ideas and message if you can’t speak the country’s native language. EGBI helps remove that barrier by connecting entrepreneurs with workshops and people that speak Spanish are willing to support their growth.

What would you say to someone considering volunteering with EGBI?

The people that work here are amazing and truly care about the work they do. Also, helping small businesses in your community is truly rewarding, and seeing them succeed makes you feel incredible!

EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. If you would like to support our efforts, please visit our website https://egbi.org/donate/ or email hello@egbi.org to discuss volunteer opportunities.

Find the Spanish version here.

Securing Your Instagram Account: A Step-by-Step Guide

By Rutu Ruparel

In today’s digital age, protecting your social media accounts is paramount. With the prevalence of cyber threats, safeguarding platforms like Instagram is crucial. This guide offers step-by-step instructions to fortify your Instagram account against unauthorized access and potential breaches.

Step 1: Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA):

  • Go to your Instagram profile and tap the three horizontal lines in the top right corner.
  • Select “Settings” from the menu.
  • Scroll down and tap on “Security.”
  • Choose “Two-Factor Authentication” and follow the prompts to enable it.
  • Select your preferred method for receiving authentication codes (SMS or authenticator app).
  • Save backup codes in a secure location for emergencies.

Step 2: Review App Permissions:

  • Navigate to your Instagram settings.
  • Select “Apps and Websites” under the “Security” section.
  • Review the list of connected apps and websites.
  • Revoke access for any apps or websites that you no longer use or trust.
  • Regularly audit your connected apps to maintain security.

Step 3: Set Up Login Alerts:

  • Access your Instagram settings.
  • Tap on “Security” and then “Login Activity.”
  • Enable login alerts by selecting “Get Notifications” and choosing your preferred method (email or SMS).
  • Receive alerts whenever someone attempts to log in to your account from an unfamiliar device or location.
  • Take immediate action if you receive any suspicious login alerts.

Step 4: Create a Strong Password:

  • Visit your Instagram settings.
  • Select “Security” and then “Password.”
  • Choose “Change Password” and enter your current password.
  • Create a strong, unique password using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or names.
  • Consider using a reputable password manager to generate and store secure passwords.

Step 5: Stay Vigilant Against Phishing Attempts:

  • Be cautious of emails, messages, or websites requesting your Instagram login information.
  • Verify the authenticity of any communication by checking the sender’s email address or website URL.
  • Look out for red flags such as grammatical errors or urgent requests for personal information.
  • Never provide your Instagram credentials to unverified sources.
  • Report any suspicious activity or phishing attempts to Instagram immediately.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can enhance the security of your Instagram account and minimize the risk of unauthorized access or data breaches. Remember to regularly review your security settings and stay informed about emerging threats to ensure the ongoing protection of your account.

Find the Spanish version here.

Basic Spreadsheet Functions You Need to Know as a Business Owner

By: Anwuli Chukwurah

All you need to know to navigate Excel and Google Sheets as a business owner with little to no experience in spreadsheets.

At some point in your business, you’ll need to open up a spreadsheet to do some calculations, build your financial model, answer questions about your sales, analyze your expenses, determine how much to pay your employees and determine how to price your product.

Before you can use any functions, all formulas start with the equals (=) symbol at the beginning. Once you have this, you’re letting Excel or Google Sheets know you want it to calculate something. You can use many different functions in Excel and Google Sheets, but you only really need to know how to use the following functions to do everything.

  1. Basic Math Functions: Plus (+), Minus (-), Multiplication (*), Division (/)
  2. SUM
  3. COUNT
  4. AVERAGE
  5. IF

Basic Math Functions

Like any calculator, you can use basic math functions such as Plus (+), Minus (-), Multiplication (*), and Division (/) within any cell in your spreadsheet. Once you start with an equals sign, you can reference any cell by clicking on it and then going forward with the basic math functions. If you don’t have a cell you want to reference, you can always type in the numbers you want in the cell and then press enter. The result will show in whatever cell you choose to put the formula in.

SUM

Instead of manually using the plus sign for every cell you want to add up, you can use the SUM function to add up a row or column of cells quickly. The SUM function can add your total annual sales and expenses.

COUNT

If you have an inventory list in a spreadsheet and want to count how many of a particular product you have left, you can use the COUNT function to show the result automatically. This way, you won’t have to count it yourself manually!

AVERAGE

You can use the AVERAGE functions to see, on average, how much you spent on expenses this year or how much you sell monthly. Once you know your average, you can use this number to forecast for the future months what you can expect to make.

IF

The IF function is the more advanced function on this list. It’s unnecessary for you to know as a beginner, but it is necessary if you want to use logical formulas. If your business gives out commissions to employees based on sales, you can use the IF function to tell your spreadsheet to calculate the commission amount if sales reach a certain amount. You can also use the IF function to calculate referral fees based on the number of new customers you closed that month.


As your business demands grow, you may need to use even more advanced functions, but the goal is not to show how much advanced Excel knowledge you know; it’s to analyze what story your financials are saying about your business. As long as you can get to the answer, it doesn’t matter if you only use basic functions. All that matters is what answers you can get to determine your next steps in business.

About the author:

Anwuli Chukwurah is a versatile finance professional with a track record of starting new finance organizations and scaling them for growth in fast-paced entrepreneurial environments. She has over 6+ years of experience working with small business owners, startups, and nonprofit organizations to help connect finance with their business goals. She aims to ensure her clients become comfortable and adept at navigating their numbers. She works with clients at Woolichooks and writes a newsletter for non-finance folks.

Find the Spanish version here.

5 Powerful Tips to Conquer Self-Doubt and Fear as a New Business Owner

By Shruti Batra

Congratulations my dear fellow entrepreneur. You have done what most people just talk about! You have taken the leap and ventured on your own! It’s an exciting journey, but it’s also normal to experience self-doubt and fear along the way. While these feelings can make even the most confident entrepreneur hesitate, they can also be converted into your motivational tool guide. 

Wondering how? 

Here are 5 powerful tips to help you conquer self-doubt and fear, and propel your business forward:

1. Remember Your Why: What ignited your passion to start this business? Reconnect with your core purpose. Was it to solve a problem you care about? Leave a legacy? Focusing on your “why” will reignite your drive and fuel your confidence. Remember the problems you will solve and never let that purpose be out of sight 

2. Focus on Progress, Not Perfection: Even the most celebrated expert was a novice once. This country is full of such novices becoming experts through sheer consistency. Every step forward, every hurdle cleared, is a victory. Focus on continuous improvement, learn from mistakes, and keep moving forward.

3. Find Your Tribe: You are known by the company you keep. Surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and your business.  This could be a mentorship program, online communities for female or minority entrepreneurs, or even a mastermind group of local business owners. Sharing your challenges and celebrating successes with like-minded individuals is a powerful way to combat self-doubt.

4. Embrace Continuous Learning: The business landscape is constantly evolving. Commit to lifelong learning – take online courses, attend workshops, and read books and articles on relevant topics. Most importantly learn from every mistake and set back. Embracing a learning mindset will help you get more confident while navigating challenges and making decisions.

5. Practice giving and gratitude: It’s important to learn to give before you can get. Focus on what you bring to the table, what problem you will solve, who will smile because of you today. Also take a few minutes each day to reflect on the things you’re grateful for in your business journey. This simple exercise can boost your mood and combat negativity.

Remember, you are not alone. Every successful entrepreneur has faced self-doubt and fear. By implementing these tips and believing in yourself, you can conquer these challenges and build a thriving business.

Find the Spanish version here.

Pavielle’s Journey: Navigating Entrepreneurship with EGBI

By Pamela Chow

Pavielle Babai-Pirouz is the owner of a bustling pedicab business, High Tach Hippie, in Austin, Texas, where she oversees a fleet of pedicabs rented out to drivers. Pedicabs, essentially bicycle taxis, provide a unique and eco-friendly mode of transportation around the city. Pavielle’s journey began in 2008 when she started as a pedicab driver herself. In 2021, fueled by her years of experience and knowledge, she made the leap to start her own company. Seizing an opportunity, she acquired a pedicab business that was being sold, instantly expanding her fleet to 32 pedicabs to begin her journey.

Pavielle shares her experience as an EGBI client.

How did you hear about EGBI?

I was looking for an accountant and my accountant recommended EGBI. I needed help organizing my money flow. While I could manage it myself being a small company, I needed assistance in learning how to do it effectively.

How has EGBI helped you?

EGBI has been instrumental in various aspects. They taught me accounting, how to build a website, and even how to hire a lawyer. Moreover, they helped in connecting me with the Chamber of Commerce, which is quite similar to EGBI in terms of networking for entrepreneurs. However, the Chamber of Commerce mainly deals with established businesses rather than EGBI that works with both ideas and established business owners. I attended all the workshops they offered.

What are you working on now?

Currently, my business has outgrown its current property, so I’m looking to expand to a new location. In the pedicab industry, the drivers pay me in order to rent the pedicab. To make it more appealing for drivers to choose my company, I plan to offer better amenities at the new facility, like air conditioning, showers, and even bunk beds for naps. This new shop could also serve as a landing place for drivers coming from out of town for events in Austin.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

The freedom that comes with entrepreneurship was a big inspiration for me. Being able to set my own schedule and pace was something I valued, which I experienced as a pedicab driver. Initially, I was terrified to start my own business due to fear of failure and self-doubt, especially with challenges like reading difficulties. However, technology and mentorship from the previous owner helped me overcome those hurdles.

What’s your biggest challenge?

Managing drivers is one of my biggest challenges. Many of them have diverse interests in their lives, and some aspire to be musicians or pursue artistic endeavors. Balancing their aspirations while maintaining the efficiency of the business can be a delicate task. It’s important to maintain respect and understanding, especially when dealing with individuals with artistic inclinations.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

My advice would be to embrace criticism and feedback, even from those who may sound like they’re tearing you down. I learned to convert negative feedback into something positive, acknowledging problems and working to address them. Worrying about things that can change is futile; instead, focus on making those changes. And for things beyond your control, learn to accept and adapt without unnecessary worry.

Find the Spanish version here.

Not Having a Budget isn’t an Option

By Anwuli Chukwurah

How to create a budget you’ll use for your business. Sure, you can trust your gut, but your employees don’t have your gut and will need a concrete plan they can see and use.

When you hear the word, budget, what emotion comes to mind for you? Some dread it and actively avoid using it. Some think it’s restrictive and not flexible enough to match their ideas. But, a budget helps give you a north star to follow. If your business doesn’t have focus, it’ll feel like nothing is moving or things are moving in all directions and yet feel stagnant. A budget can help you focus your energy on one thing for that year. If you realize halfway through the year that the budget you built is over or below your actual results by a huge margin, then at least you have a starting point on what to change for the remaining year.

If you don’t have a baseline budget, then how can you know what needs to change and how to change it? If you feel like your business is off course, you can always go back to your budget to see what your plans were and refocus. It’s not meant to be a restrictive handcuff. You can have fun with it and get into the habit of recording and seeing the changes in your budget and business as it evolves.

Three ways you can start creating and using a budget:

  1. Simple
  2. Growth Rate
  3. Detailed & Bottom-Up

Simple

The simple method of creating a budget is multiplying your monthly revenue and expenses by twelve (annualizing your monthly number). This automatically gives you your annual goal for revenue and expenses. This only works if you’re just starting out and are a one or two-person team. At least you’ll have a goal that you’re trying to reach. You will sacrifice some accuracy with this method, but it’s a starting point. Then, as your business grows, you’ll get a sense of what revenue and expenses look like to help inform next year’s budget. What ends up happening, as you grow, you’ll want a more detailed method to plan for revenue and expenses.

Growth Rate

Another way is to pick a percentage that you think your total revenue or expense will increase or decrease for the year. For this you’ll need your previous year’s total revenue and expense to multiply your rate to it. Some common sense will have to be applied when using this method. You can’t say you’ll 10x your revenue over the next year when you’ve barely been able to double your revenue. Don’t set yourself up for failure, and keep your numbers reasonable. I usually like to underestimate revenue and overestimate my expenses. You’re always going to spend more than you think so you might as well build that in your budget.

Detailed & Bottom-Up

I like using this detailed and bottom-up approach when building client budgets. It forces my clients to think through the levers that run their business. What quantities and at what price do you think you’ll be able to sell every month? If you’re a nonprofit, which donors or grants can you get your funds from? If your business is seasonal, we can build the seasonality into your budget. How many employees do you think you’ll need? Is the number of employees needed associated with your sales? If you have department heads, this approach forces you to talk to them and have them bring their input as to what the budget should look like. Since, they’re living the day-to-day and can accurately estimate what resources they’ll need for the next year. This approach takes the longest to build, but it’s comprehensive and will have every part of the business talking to each other to build a functional budget.


Not having a budget is not an option. A budget gives you a goalpost to look towards and helps keep you honest as a business owner. If your actuals don’t match your budget, at least you have a starting point to investigate the differences. Do you have to change your sales and marketing tactics? Is it an operation issue? Have you hired too many people? Do you need to hire more people? Is your fundamental product that you’re selling not what your customers want? It opens a world of ways to start analyzing and seeing your business. A budget is a plan that you can use to run your business, but don’t feel you have to stay stuck to it. It’s just a plan that can change, but whatever change you plan must make business sense. You can’t change just because you feel like it. Your employees will feel the whiplash and lack of stability.

About the author:

Anwuli Chukwurah is a versatile finance professional with a track record of starting new finance organizations and scaling them for growth in fast-paced entrepreneurial environments. She has over 6+ years of experience working with small business owners, startups, and nonprofit organizations to help connect finance with their business goals. She aims to ensure her clients become comfortable and adept at navigating their numbers. She works with clients at Woolichooks and writes a newsletter for non-finance folks.

Find the Spanish version here.

Meet EGBI Client – Castillo Drywall LLC

By Pamela Chow

Claudia and Fidel Castillo of Castillo Drywall LLC are not just a dynamic duo in the Texas construction industry; they are a testament to resilience, hard work, and entrepreneurial spirit. Relocating from Chicago to Texas in 2013 amid financial adversity, they found a new home and opportunities for growth in Texas.

The journey to founding Castillo Drywall LLC was paved with over 15 years of experience and a shared passion for excellence. Specializing in drywall installation, taping, and texture, their company caters to a wide range of clients across central Texas, offering unparalleled service and craftsmanship.

Claudia and Fidel share their experience as clients of EGBI.

How did you first find out about EGBI?

“I found out about EGBI through my friend Mariela Méndez, who is also an EGBI client,” Claudia shares, highlighting the community connections that led them to the support they needed.

How did EGBI help your business? What service did you benefit from?

“EGBI helped from business planning to marketing tools, legal advice, and accounting,” Claudia explains. “They continue to support us with workshops and tools for our growth.”

If you had to start over, what would you do differently?

“I would start the business without overthinking it,” Fidel reflects, underscoring the value of taking the leap with confidence and passion when one is first starting the entrepreneurial journey.

What was the biggest challenge when starting your business?

“Overcoming the fear to start was the hardest part,” adds Fidel, sharing a sentiment many entrepreneurs can relate to.

What advice would you give to someone starting their business?

For those starting their entrepreneurial journey, Claudia and Fidel suggested leveraging support networks like EGBI, which can assist you with critical business fundamentals, from legal and financial knowledge to effective marketing strategies.

Through their partnership with EGBI, Claudia and Fidel Castillo have not only navigated the complexities of entrepreneurship but have also seen significant growth and success that is only expanding. Their story is a powerful reminder of the impact of community support, education, and perseverance in the business world.

EGBI provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business. If you would like to support our efforts, please visit our website https://egbi.org/donate/.

Find the Spanish version here.

Mission Possible: Securing Government Contracts for Veterans and Military Spouses

For military veterans and spouses looking to embark on their small business journey, government contracting represents a promising avenue. This article serves as a guide, shedding light on the intricate process, potential challenges, and the wealth of resources available to aid veterans and spouses in securing federal and state government contracts.

Understanding the Process: Embarking on government contracting involves a series of steps, each important to the overall success of your small business. Let’s dive into several of the key areas needed to start on the road of government contracting.

Conduct Market Research: Begin by conducting extensive market research to identify government agencies, departments, and prime contractors seeking the products or services aligned with your skill set. You can begin with local government (i.e. City of Austin)  as well as with the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) veteran contracting assistance programs.

Registration: Navigate the bureaucratic landscape by registering your business in the System for Award Management (SAM), the central database for vendors engaging with the federal government. Additionally, consider obtaining certifications like Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) or Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) for access to set-aside contracts. Government agencies at both the federal and state levels have set-aside programs specifically designed to leverage contracting opportunities for veteran-owned businesses. These programs reserve or “set-aside” a certain percentage of contracts for businesses owned by veterans or service-disabled veterans.

Proposal Development: Crafting compelling proposals is an art. Clearly state your business’s capabilities, past performance (if any), and unique value proposition (a clear message about the value of your product or service). Tailor each proposal to meet the specific requirements of the solicitation. Work with your local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program, which provides entrepreneurial development services such as business training, counseling, and mentorship to veteran-owned businesses.

Contract Administration: Upon being awarded a contract, meticulous attention to detail is required to ensure compliance with the contract’s terms and conditions, deliverables, reporting requirements, and performance standards. We recommend that you seek support with reviewing contracts or legal terms and conditions before committing.  To receive advice, join EGBI for one of our Legal Clinic, offered twice a year EGBI to work with one of our volunteer attorneys in a one-on-one consultation session to business owners.

Challenges Faced by Veterans and Spouses: While the opportunities are abundant, veterans and spouses encounter several challenges along the way.  Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate this process:

Competitive Landscape: Government contracting is fiercely competitive, with established firms and experienced contractors vying for the same opportunities.

Complex Procurement Processes: The intricacies of government procurement processes, regulations, and compliance requirements can be overwhelming, particularly for those new to the scene.

Resource Constraints: Limited access to capital, technical expertise, and administrative support can pose significant hurdles for veterans and spouses seeking government contracts. So, we suggest that you reach out to as many resources (various agencies local and federal) as you can in an effort to garner insights in how to obtain the best opportunities for your small business.

Certification and Credentialing Requirements: Meeting certification and credentialing prerequisites, such as obtaining security clearances or industry-specific certifications, can be especially challenging for those transitioning from military service to entrepreneurship.

Resources for Veterans and Spouses: Thankfully, a multitude of resources are available to provide support and guidance. Here are some federal and local support networks available that we recommend you connect with to help you with your small business and government contracting ambitions.

Federal:

Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers various programs, including the SDVOSB/VOSB certification initiative, government contracting assistance, and workshops dedicated to federal procurement.

Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs): PTACs offer free counseling, training, and resources to aid small businesses in navigating government contracting opportunities at the state and local levels.

Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs): VBOCs provide specialized services, including business counseling, training, and mentorship tailored to the unique needs of veteran-owned businesses.

Local:

SCORE Mentors: SCORE offers the expertise of volunteer mentors, many of whom are seasoned business owners, to guide and support entrepreneurs in various facets of government contracting.

Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs): Organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) offer resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities for veteran entrepreneurs.

Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI): is a non-profit organization which provides training, coaching, and support to aspiring and existing business owners who face barriers to growing a successful business.

In summary, while embarking on the path of government contracting may seem daunting, securing government contracts can be a rewarding journey for military veterans and spouses, offering not only financial growth but also a pathway to economic success. By comprehending the process, overcoming challenges, and tapping into the wealth of available resources, veterans and spouses can position themselves for success in the competitive world of government contracting.  

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Most Common Taxes & Filings for a Business

By Anwuli Chukwurah

It’s a lot better to prepare for them than to get a surprise tax bill.

Taxes. They’re a necessary part of doing business, and you need to make sure you’re aware and are planning for when you’ll eventually have to cough up the money you owe the government. Tax planning is an essential part of running your business, and you need to ensure you save a portion of your net income every month when the payments are due. This post is not for non-profits — except for your annual 990 filing to let the government know you’re still alive as an organization and you won’t owe the government money.

Here are the five most common paid taxes by small business owners:

  1. Income Tax
  2. Sales Tax
  3. Payroll Tax (includes Unemployment Tax)
  4. Franchise Tax
  5. Property Tax

Income Tax

  • Frequency: Annual
  • Mandatory: Yes

This annual tax is due in March (for corporations) or April for everybody else. Work with a CPA to ensure you’re paying the right amount and you’ve taken advantage of any deductions. If you’re an LLC, your business income tax is filed with your personal income tax. Yes, just because you have a business doesn’t mean you get out of filing your own personal taxes. I’m not a tax accountant, so I always refer clients to a CPA.

Sales Tax

  • Frequency: Annual/Quarterly/Monthly
  • Mandatory: Depends on the business industry

For sales tax, I suggest you call your local sales tax office for answers. If you have no idea if you’re supposed to pay sales tax, call the local office to get a quick answer. It will save you hours scrolling through Google. This can be a cumbersome thing to figure out, depending on where you make sales. The last time I called the local office, they were very helpful and answered all my questions — no matter how stupid I thought they were. If you’re a bigger corporation, you can also work with sales tax firms or use software that tracks sales tax payments to make sure things are aligned and filed correctly.

Payroll Tax

  • Frequency: Quarterly/Monthly
  • Mandatory: Yes

If you have full-time W2 employees, you must file and pay payroll and unemployment taxes. A payroll system such as Gusto will remove the stress from these filings. Make sure you’re registered with your state’s Workforce Commission so you can connect your tax account number with your payroll system so all payments can be correctly allocated.

Franchise Tax

  • Frequency: Annual
  • Mandatory: Yes

Everyone is required to file the Franchise Tax report. The threshold for Texas is $2,470,000 in revenue, and even if you don’t have that revenue, you’re still required to file the Public Information Report or Ownership Information Report. If your company issues shares, your franchise tax report can use your share counts and amounts—this is easier, especially if you use a cap table software such as Carta.

Property Tax

  • Frequency: Annual
  • Mandatory: Depends on if you own property

If you owe any property, you’re required to pay property tax. Properties include land, buildings, and any improvements you’ve made. It also includes tangible personal property used in the “production of income,” such as furniture, inventory, machinery, supplies, etc. Due dates vary based on county, so call your local office to confirm the date.


So, if you don’t want to be hit with a tax bill that the government thinks you owe them, be proactive with your filings. There’s nothing more shock-inducing than getting a bill for $100K when you know that number couldn’t be right. Also, form a relationship with a CPA (Tax Accountant) at the beginning of your business so they can make sure you pay the right amount of taxes and show you how to achieve that as a business.

About the author:

Anwuli Chukwurah is a versatile finance professional with a track record of starting new finance organizations and scaling them for growth in fast-paced entrepreneurial environments. She has over 6+ years of experience working with small business owners, startups, and nonprofit organizations to help connect finance with their business goals. She aims to ensure her clients become comfortable and adept at navigating their numbers. She works with clients at Woolichooks and writes a newsletter for non-finance folks.

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