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:


 EGBI   |   Austin, TX   |

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Opening Opportunities: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Certified Veteran-Owned Small Business and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business State and Federal

As a Veteran, you’ve already demonstrated courage, commitment, and resilience in your service to the nation. Now, imagine translating those qualities into entrepreneurial success by starting or expanding your own business by tapping into government contracting opportunities. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers certification programs for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB), providing a pathway to exclusive contracts and fostering economic growth.

You might ask, “why would I need a certification as a veteran owned business through the Small Business Administration?” Well, there are a few good reasons why this certification is a good idea for your business as a veteran.  One, it allows you to compete for certain federal and/or state government contracts.  It also will allow you to purchase government supply surplus items that can help you to continue to grow your business. And importantly, it underscores your brand as a veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned business to your customers and your community.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to achieve VOSB or SDVOSB certification.

Step 1: Verify Your Eligibility

Before diving into the certification process, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. For VOSB, veterans must own and control at least 51% of the business. For SDVOSB, service-disabled veterans must meet the same criteria. Confirm your eligibility and proceed with confidence.

Step 2: Gather Your Documents

Collect the necessary documentation, which typically includes:

  • DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
  • VA disability letter (for SDVOSB).
  • Corporate documents (articles of incorporation, operating agreements, etc.).
  • Business financial statements.
  • Business tax returns.
  • Ownership and control documentation.

Step 3: Create an SBA Account

Navigate to the Small Business Administration (SBA) website and create an account. This account will be your gateway to the online certification application. Ensure you provide accurate information during the account creation process.

Step 4: Complete the Online Application

Select the certification program (VOSB or SDVOSB) and complete the online application. Upload all required documents and double-check the accuracy of the information provided. This step is pivotal in moving forward with the certification process. You want to make sure there are no delays due to not providing all the required information.

Step 5: Obtain a D-U-N-S Number

If your business doesn’t have a Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) Data Universal Numbering System (D-U-N-S) number, obtain one. This unique identifier is essential for government contracts and will strengthen your application.

Step 6: Register on

Register your business on the System for Award Management (SAM) website. This no cost registration is a prerequisite for federal government contracting and complements your VOSB or SDVOSB certification.  Importantly, this is a required registration to do business with the U.S. Government.

Step 7: Submit Your Application

Once your application is complete, submit it through the SBA’s online portal. This marks a crucial step toward unlocking exclusive contracting opportunities for your veteran-owned business.

Step 8: Await Verification and Approval

Patience is key as the SBA reviews your application. Be prepared for potential requests for additional information and respond promptly to expedite the certification process. So, please be sure to keep your eye on your emails from the SBA.

Step 9: Respond to Requests for Information

If the SBA requires additional information or clarification, respond promptly and efficiently. This responsiveness demonstrates your commitment to the certification process.

Step 10: Receive Your Certification

Upon approval, you’ll receive official certification as a VOSB or SDVOSB. This achievement opens doors to government contracts reserved only for veteran-owned businesses.

Step 11: Market Your Certification

Update your marketing materials, website, and government contracting databases to showcase your VOSB or SDVOSB status. This certification is a powerful tool in attracting both government and private-sector contracts.

For further support with this process, seek guidance from the SBA through your local Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program here.


Becoming certified as a VOSB or SDVOSB is a strategic move that not only honors your military service but also positions your business for success in the competitive world of government contracting. Follow these steps diligently, stay informed, and embrace the opportunities that come with being a certified veteran-owned business. We here at EGBI wish you good luck on your journey to unlocking new horizons for your entrepreneurial venture!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to EGBI’s Business Coach and Veteran Services Coordinator Monica Perras at or call her directly 737-239-0221.  A business coaching appointment is at no cost due to a contract with the City of Austin.

Find the Spanish version here.

Opened EGBI Toastmasters Officer Roles

by Shamitha Ramanan

A Toastmasters club’s ability to function effectively depends on its members’ commitment to serving in various officer capacities. Officer roles are the club’s core and significantly contribute to its growth and success. Volunteers willing to take on these tasks are crucial to the club. Getting more involved by assuming an officer role within the club benefits the club and the individual taking on the role. It’s a rewarding experience that offers numerous opportunities for growth, development, and meaningful connections.

EGBI’s chapter of Toastmasters will have David Fuentes as the President, Monica Peña as the VP of Membership, and Wendy Murphy as the VP of Public Relations. 

We seek the club’s VP of Education, Secretary, and Treasurer.  

The Vice President of Education oversees scheduling and is the club’s expert on education awards, speech contests, and mentoring. They welcome and guide new members, assign mentors, emphasize the significance of quality evaluations and the Toastmasters Education Program, and promote participation in activities.    

The Treasurer is the club’s primary accountant, writes authorized checks, deposits dues and earnings, and handles bank transactions. Their accurate and timely work dramatically impacts the club’s overall success. In addition, the Treasurer oversees tax filings, notifies members on due dates, and sends payments to World Headquarters. They manage the budget in coordination with the club’s leadership and actively participate in executive committee sessions.

The Secretary records minutes of meetings and keeps track of club records. They ensure the World Headquarters data are accurate by updating and distributing the member roster. In addition, they maintain club files, record executive committee meetings, and keep copies of the Club Constitution and Standard Bylaws.

Serving as an officer provides an invaluable opportunity to hone leadership skills in a supportive environment. We hope you consider taking on an officer role in addition to joining the Toastmasters.

Find the Spanish version click here.

“Cleantech Open” grant for startups is now open

Cleantech Open is the largest and oldest cleantech startup accelerator program in the United States, with the mission of finding, funding and nurturing entrepreneurs around the world with ideas to solve environmental and energy challenges. Through this annual program, new clean technology companies are connected with the people and resources that will accelerate their success. The startups selected in the different stages will be eligible for advice from specialized mentors in the sector, as well as prizes starting at $10,000 US dollars.

This call may result from the interest of emerging companies in the area of clean technologies, as well as research centers and academics. Interested parties may submit their applications until February 29 (with an application fee of $30 USD), or until April 14, 2024 (with an application fee of $75 USD).

Interested parties can apply through the following link: The accelerator website is:

Find the Spanish version here.

Navigating Grants for Small Businesses

By Shamitha Ramanan

One valuable resource that can significantly impact the trajectory of a small business are grants. They offer the financial support required to fuel the growth of your business. In this article, we delve into various grants and grant platforms that could suit your business and the application process.

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest

Each year, this competition grants $30,000 to 10 deserving business owners, with an added $20,000 grant awarded to a veteran entrepreneur selected from the pool of grand prize winners. To qualify, your business must be for-profit, employ fewer than 99 individuals, and possess a valid FedEx business shipping account number. This application opens on March 1, 2024, at 12pm ET and closes on April 1, 2024, at 12pm ET. Grant recipients will be announced on May 16, 2024. This grant application requires a short company bio with high-quality images that best represent your business and a two-minute video pitch.

National Association for Self-Employed (NASE) Growth Grants

Through the NASE Growth Grants program, your small business could secure up to $4,000 in funding. Grant applications undergo quarterly review according to the schedule posted on the NASE website. To qualify, membership in NASE is required, and applicants are asked to submit a business plan. Evaluation criteria for grant allocation include an assessment of the identifiable business need, a detailed plan for the use of grant funds, the potential for the grant to address the identified need, and the expected impact of the grant on the business.

This database offers a broad spectrum of opportunities customized for small businesses and contains more than 1,000 federal grant programs. These grants are from a variety of government agencies and cater to a diverse range of entrepreneurial pursuits. With eligibility criteria and monetary value varying widely, these grants provide support across a broad spectrum of business endeavors.


This database is similar to the one listed above and is an expansive online platform dedicated to listing hundreds of small-business grants sourced from across the United States. However, compared to the one above this is not through a variety of government agencies.


“FedEx Small Business Grants.” FedEx, Accessed 1 Feb. 2024.

“$4,000 Business Grant #nase.” $4,000 Business Grant, Accessed 1 Feb. 2024.

“Search Grants.” Grants.Gov, Accessed 1 Feb. 2024.

“Grants for Nonprofits, Businesses and Individuals-Grantwatch.”, Accessed 1 Feb. 2024.

Find the Spanish version here.

A Can’t Miss Benefit: A Guide to Obtaining a Veteran Verification Letter in Texas

Starting a new business comes with its challenges, but if you’re a veteran in the state of Texas, there’s a unique opportunity to ease the burden. The Texas Veterans Commission Veteran Entrepreneur Program offers a Veteran Verification Letter (VVL), a powerful tool that not only recognizes your service but also provides tangible benefits. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of obtaining a
VVL and unlocking significant cost-saving advantages.

Eligibility Check

Before diving into the application process, ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for the Veteran
Verification Letter. To qualify, you must have:
– An Honorable/General Under Honorable US Military Discharge
– 100% Veteran-Owned (can be more than one veteran owner)
– A new entity formation between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2025

Step 1: Requesting a VVL

1. Visit the Texas Veterans Commission website.

2. Click on the “Connect with a Business Consultant” button to initiate the process.

3. Complete the three-part questionnaire provided by the Texas Veterans Commission.

Step 2: Information Gathering

Prepare the following documents before initiating contact with a Business Consultant:
– DD214 – Member 4 or Service Copy 2: Ensure it shows discharge status.
– VA Letter of Service Disability: Must include branch of service, dates of service, and discharge status.
– NGB22 (Texas National Guard Only): For Texas National Guard members.
– Verification of any name changes: Include relevant documents like Marriage Certificates,
Divorce Decrees, etc.

Step 3: Contact with a Business Consultant

After completing the questionnaire, a Business Consultant from the Texas Veterans Commission will contact you directly. Be ready to share the gathered information and discuss your business plans.

Benefits of the Veteran Verification Letter.

Upon successful verification, you’ll receive a Veteran Verification Letter. This document holds significant advantages for your new business:
-Waived $300 Registration Fee: Say goodbye to the initial registration fee with the Secretary of
-Five Years of State Franchise Tax Exemption: Enjoy the first five years of your business without the burden of state franchise tax.

Obtaining a Veteran Verification Letter through the Texas Veterans Commission can be a game-changer for your new business. Not only does it recognize your military service, but it also provides substantial financial benefits. Follow the steps outlined in this guide, and you’ll be on your way to unlocking opportunities that will make a meaningful difference in the early years of your entrepreneurial journey.
This is a great first step towards many more to come.

Thank you for your service, and best of luck with your new venture!

Please do not hesitate to reach out to EGBI’s Business Coach and Veteran Services Coordinator Monica
Perras at or call her directly 737-239-0221.  A business coaching appointment is at no
cost due to a contract with the City of Austin.

Find the Spanish version here.

Happy Employees Mean Better Business

By Audrey Stanton

From company-paid health care coverage to onsite child care, research shows that family-friendly
policies lead to higher employee attraction, retention, satisfaction, and productivity.

Are you curious to learn how you can make your company more attractive to working parents
and increase your revenue at the same time?

The newly launched Best Place for Working Parents® Greater Austin initiative from Early Matters
Greater Austin (EMGA) offers a free and confidential survey that you can complete online in under 5

After completing the assessment, you will gain a real-time snapshot of how your business fares in
relation to other local companies. Businesses that qualify for the designation will have an immediate
opportunity to promote themselves as a designated Best Place for Working Parents®.

To learn more about the initiative and take the free assessment, click here to visit Early Matters.

Happier employees? More profitable business? It’s a win-win.

Find the Spanish version here.

Difference between LLC and a DBA with Larissa Davila

En este episodio abordamos las diferencias entre LLC (Compañía de Responsabilidad Limitada) y DBA (Haciendo Negocios Como). Un LLC ofrece una entidad legal separada que protege los activos personales del propietario de las responsabilidades comerciales, mientras que un DBA es un nombre comercial registrado que a menudo está vinculado al nombre y activos personales del propietario. Registrar un DBA en Texas implica acudir a la oficina del condado local, mientras que un LLC se puede registrar a nivel estatal a través de una base de datos.

Ambas opciones tienen ventajas y desventajas. Un LLC ofrece una mejor protección de los activos personales, pero puede ser más costoso de establecer, mientras que un DBA es más flexible pero deja al propietario personalmente responsable. Larissa aconseja consultar con profesionales para elegir la opción correcta y destaca la importancia de los contratos y el seguro, independientemente de la elección. Un LLC permite la transferencia del negocio, mientras que un DBA no. Además, presentar un negocio con un DBA a inversores puede ser menos atractivo debido al aumento de los riesgos de responsabilidad. La consideración cuidadosa y la investigación son esenciales antes de decidir entre LLC y DBA para un negocio.

Recordemos que es importante contar con buenos contratos y seguros, sin importar si el negocio es un LLC o un DBA. Es fundamental llevar un control de las finanzas y evitar mezclar los fondos comerciales y personales, ya que esto puede conducir a complicaciones legales y poner en riesgo el negocio.

Austin Community Foundation Awards $1.5 Million to 53 Nonprofits in Central Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (Dec. 14, 2023) – Austin Community Foundation (ACF) announced today $1.5 million in grant funding to organizations working to improve the economic mobility of Central Texans. The Foundation’s three strategic programs—The Black Fund, Hispanic Impact Fund, and Women’s Fund—each awarded $500,000 in unrestricted, general operating support to a total of 53 local nonprofits. This is the highest amount of funding awarded from ACF’s Community Impact programs. 

“Austin Community Foundation’s strategic programs are data-driven and community-led, ensuring our efforts are not only well-informed but also deeply connected to the realities of the people we seek to serve,” said Elizabeth Peña, Director of Community Impact, Austin Community Foundation. “Through this grants process, we’re committed to equitable, transparent, and trust-based giving—building real opportunities for everyone who calls Central Texas home.”   

The Black Fund granted to 25 Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits working to support the growth, economic mobility and wellness of Black people across five impact areas: 

  • Arts, culture and preservation 
  • Education 
  • Health and wellness 
  • Power building, organizing and advocacy 
  • Wealth building 

The Hispanic Impact Fund granted to 16 Latino-led and Latino-serving nonprofits working to support the economic mobility and advancement of Hispanic Central Texans across four impact areas: 

  • Early childhood education
  • Health and wellness
  • Job skills and entrepreneurship
  • Leadership development 

The Women’s Fund granted to 15 nonprofits working to support the economic mobility of women and children in Central Texas across five impact areas: 

  • Childcare
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Unplanned pregnancy prevention
  • Women’s health

The Black Fund, Hispanic Impact Fund and Women’s Fund operate as collective giving networks led by community members who share responsibility for the vision, fundraising, and grantmaking. Approximately 175 individuals, including people with lived experience, participated in the grant selection process and thoughtfully vetted more than 255 applications.  

A priority of the 2023 grants cycle was to provide a streamlined process by offering nonprofits the ability to apply to all three funds through one single grant application. Among the nonprofits applying for funding, 30% of organizations were first-time applicants and 38% applied to multiple funds. Among the organizations selected for funding, 62% are led by individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC). 

Special thanks to Google, PIMCO, Q2 Holdings, Inc., and St. David’s Foundation for generously supporting ACF’s economic mobility work.  

Learn more about the Foundation’s programs at

Full list of 2023 grant partners:  

The Black Fund

Austin Legal Access – $40,000*
Building Promise USA – $40,000*
Delivering Unto You – $40,000
Origin Studio House – $40,000*
Round Rock Black Parents Association – $40,000* 
Alliance for African American Health in Central Texas – $25,000 
Ladders for Leaders – $25,000 
The Bakari Foundation – $25,000
The Giving Rose Foundation ATX – $25,000 
Tomorrow’s Promise Foundation – $25,000 
Black Girl Ventures – $15,000
Black Men’s Health Clinic – $15,000
Code2College – $15,000 
Little Bit of Good – $15,000 
P.E.A.C.E. Program – $15,000 
RE-CLAIM – $15,000 
Real Queens Fix Each Other’s Crowns – $15,000 
SCD Enrichment Program – $15,000
Torch Literary Arts – $15,000 
We Can Now – $15,000 
Ballet Afrique – $5,000 
Frofessionals – $5,000 
Hungry Hill Foundation – $5,000 
Huston-Tillotson University – $5,000 
Black Professional Alliance – $5,000 

Hispanic Impact Fund

Amhiga Hispana – $50,000*
AVANCE – Austin – $50,000*
Luz de Atabey Midwifery Project – $50,000*  
Todos Juntos Learning Center – $50,000* 
Austin Achieve Public Schools – $35,000*  
Economic Growth Business Incubator – $35,000* 
Explore Austin – $35,000* 
Manos de Cristo – $35,000* 
Austin Urban Technology Movement – $20,000 
Breakthrough Central Texas – $20,000 
El Buen Samaritano – $20,000 
Literacy First – $20,000 
Mariposa Family Learning Center – $20,000 
People’s Community Clinic – $20,000 
Seedling – $20,000 
Workers Defense Project – $20,000 

The Women’s Fund 

Any Baby Can of Austin – $55,000*
Empowering Women Out of Prison – $55,000* 
LifeWorks – $55,000* 
Lilith Fund – $55,000* 
Todos Juntos Learning Center – $55,000*  
Asian Family Support Services of Austin – $30,000 
AVANCE – Austin – $30,000  
Center for Survivors of Torture – $30,000  
Jeremiah Program – $30,000 
Lirios Pediatrics – $30,000 
Andy Roddick Foundation – $15,000 
Healthy Futures of Texas – $15,000 
Ladies Let’s Talk – $15,000 
People’s Community Clinic – $15,000
Saint Louise House – $15,000  

*asterisk denotes an organization receiving funding over two years 


About Austin Community Foundation
Austin Community Foundation mobilizes ideas and resources to strengthen Central Texas. The Foundation is focused on advancing economic mobility and affordable housing, and it uses varied tools – data, convening and philanthropic dollars – to implement this strategy. In 2022, the Foundation granted nearly $53 million to the community, mostly through donor advised funds. Founded in 1977, the Foundation is the third largest charitable Foundation in Central Texas with $447 million in total assets under management. Learn more at

Kandace Vallejo: Serve your community with a profitable business

Kandance Vallejo, the visionary behind Remedios Consulting, shares valuable insights on launching and growing successful businesses with a focus on interpersonal relationships and leadership coaching. Transitioning from business ownership to consulting, Vallejo emphasizes innovative thinking in overcoming challenges.

Kandance’s advice resonates with small businesses and nonprofits, emphasizing coaching in leadership. In contrast, in a podcast, she discusses her entrepreneurial journey, highlighting the importance of interpersonal relationships and coaching.

Addressing scaling challenges, Kandance advocates for early hiring to prevent burnout, collaborates with Tressa Rowland for profitable strategies in 2024, and advises prioritizing business intelligence and realistic planning. She underscores the significance of strong teams and effective leadership hiring, training, and support. Kandance emphasizes responsibility in training employees and suggests seeking operational support for sustainable growth.

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