Meet EGBI’s volunteer – Joe Arellano-Villegas

By Diana Garcia

Meet Joe Arellano-Villegas. He currently lives in Dallas but spends lots of time in Austin. He is the first in his family to graduate and attended St. Edward’s University in Austin where he got his Bachelor’s in Photo-Communication (2014). He later went back to school a bit before the pandemic to Dallas College to get an Associate’s in Applied Science in Graphic Design (2021). Joe has had a variety of careers, gigs, and volunteer opportunities from helping students on film sets, to retail, to school photography, photo editing, and now shifted towards a career in graphic design. He is currently freelancing and a volunteer at Dallas Fuse:  a HIV prevention treatment center and STI education safe space.

Joe shares his experience as a volunteer of EGBI and how you can get involved too.

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

I was looking for clients to volunteer for on Catchafire and saw an Austin company called EGBI. And the former Austinite in me said, “Well I definitely have to apply.”

How have you volunteered for EGBI?

I helped design some information flyers for entrepreneurs in order to distribute information they might need to start and/or run their business.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer?

Nonprofits sometimes need help since the people who work for them do a lot for the communities they engage with. If I can help take a load off of them why not help.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” -Charles Dickens

Why is it important to volunteer at EGBI?

Starting a business is hard, especially for communities of color, which have historically been disenfranchised in the process. EGBI helps those in Austin learn, incubate, and grow so that companies that are starting or struggling to find footing have an easier time navigating such a process.

What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering with EGBI?

Volunteering in any capacity is an act of love because you are willing to go into a space and offer help to those who might need it. Be open to communication and always listen to what the needs of those who are asking for help. Everyone at EGBI is really nice and wonderful to work with.

In 2020, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Joe 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.

How to start a small business- A Veteran’s SMB Guide with tools

By Jason Simon with

As a veteran, many of the skills you learned in the military can be especially helpful in running a business. The wide range of hard and soft skills you acquired through service can be transferred with great success to the private sector. Many veterans are doing just that.

According to the United States Small Business Association (SBA), 2 1/2 million businesses are run by veterans. Nearly one in 10 U.S. businesses are veteran-owned. They cover the entire range of business types: from professional and technical services to consulting, construction, consumer products, and more.

Image - Statistics on Veteran Owned Businesses

While funding can be an obstacle for many new entrepreneurs, veterans have some advantages. Federal agencies are required to set aside a certain amount of funding for vets. This is especially helpful, given that many veterans lack sufficient credit history to obtain funding from traditional sources like banks.

In this guide, we outline the steps you’ll take to get a successful company off the ground. We’ll dive deep into each step and explain exactly what you need. We’ll introduce you to the wide range of excellent resources that can help you turn an idea into a successful business.

How to Start a Small Business

Step One: Coming Up With Your Business Idea

Every good business begins with a good idea. Since you’re reading this article, you might already have a great idea that you’re trying to turn into a reality.

However, if you’re not in this category but still want to work for yourself, you’re not out of luck. It’s common for first-time entrepreneurs to spend as much time coming up with their business idea as they do getting it off the ground. The questions below will help you lock on to whatever business ideas could work best for you.

What Skills Do You Have?

The first question you’ll want to answer is whether you have any specific skills that would transition easily into starting a business. Chances are that you learned quite a large range of skills in the military that will translate easily into your own project. Did you work as an electrician? That might be a good answer. How about logistics? Even if these areas don’t fit, with some creative thinking you can come up with some good ideas. Do you have any other skills you obtained before joining the military? Those might also be of good use.

What Interests You?

The second question is whether there’s something that specifically interests you. This may be one of the most important things you need to answer. If you’re going to do a job and do it well, you’re going to want to like what it’s you do. If you enjoy something, the chances are that you’ll be better at it. Beyond that, having a passion for something you like to do will make your days go by a lot better. As the saying goes, if you love your job, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. It’ll be your driving force and what will get you out of bed in the morning. It could be that your hobby could become your profession.

What Resources Do You Already Have?

Thirdly, look at your existing resources. You might already have in hand various things that might suit you. For instance, if you already have access to a storefront ― perhaps it’s from a family business ― this can be a good start to getting you going. Similarly, if you have built up a solid tool shed and have a large set of tools, you might be already set up to begin some sort of maintenance, carpentry, or odd jobs business. Remember, one of the largest barriers to a business is expense. If you have anything already on hand, you’re already partially ahead of the game.

What Need or Niche Will You Fill?

Another thing to do is to look for an existing need in your community. There may be a shortage of people with a certain set of skills in your town or a business that doesn’t exist beyond a certain driving distance. You might find yourself filling a niche that has been needed for a long time. It never hurts to talk to people about what sort of things that they wish they had available to them. There may be a need that people have that they might not even realize. If you can come up with this, sometimes a simple need can be translated into a profitable business.

What Government Contracts Are Available?

Government contracts can be very lucrative, and veterans are often given special consideration when bidding them. Spend some time browsing the following resources, looking for opportunities that align with your skills and interests:

  • Service-disabled Veteran-owned Small-business Program: If you have become disabled through your service, this division of the SBA helps connect veterans with government contracts.
  • VetBiz: Another division of the VA, VetBiz is a portal for verification, acquisitions, and management support. It helps veterans find verified firms and offers training, communications, and assists in setting up events.

Step Two: Developing Your Business Plan

An often-overlooked area of starting a business is the need to create a clear business plan ahead of time. You need to have a plan in place to get from where you’re now to where you want to be. It’s best to lay out this information well before you begin. Set a few milestones, including dates, for how you plan on obtaining a set of individual goals.

Not only is this a good idea, and helps you find a way of measuring your success, but it’s also necessary if you intend on getting some help in financing your business. We’ll address this a bit later in this article.

What Should a Business Plan Include?

A business plan is a document that provides a summary or overview of your business, including a simple summary that can be presented to potential investors or others interested in your ideas, an overview of how you plan on running your company, analysis of the market ― who is your competition ― how your business will be organized, how you plan on developing and producing a product ― if that’s your plan ― financial projections, and more. Let’s break these down.

Executive Summary

The first part of your business plan will be an executive summary. An executive summary provides a quick overview of your entire business plan. It’s useful for readers to get a brief glimpse of your plan without having to read the entire document. In most cases, the entire document will be read, but this serves as an introduction to make absorbing the information easier. You should consider this to be one of the most important parts of your entire business plan. It should have the following pieces.

The Mission Statement

This should be a brief paragraph describing what your business is, and what needs it’s attempting to meet. Define your higher-level goals here, including what you wish to accomplish.

General Information

Here’s where you can provide some insight into the thinking behind your business. For example, you should include when it was formed, and who you are. Include everyone involved in creating the business, such as your business partners, and list what roles each of you’ll fulfill, the number of employees you have or expect to have, and where it’s located.


If you already have started your business, this is a good place to mention any milestones you have already achieved. Include your gross earnings or other financials. It’s normal to want to bolster your credentials by including overly rosy information about your financial achievements. However, it’s important to tell the truth here, especially since this will come into play at some point in the future when you pay your taxes. The point, however, is to provide a positive snapshot of where your business is and where it’s going based on these numbers.

Products and/or Services

This is where you describe what product or services your business provides. Outline who your primary customers are or will be.


This section is crucial if you plan on getting any financial assistance from an official outside source, such as a bank or loaning institution, or if you plan on selling equity in your business. If you have any existing loans or grants, you should list these here.


Explain how you intend for your business to grow. You should create several projections about where you plan or wish your business to be in the next three to five years.

Company Overview

After you have constructed your executive summary, you’ll want to go into some more detail about your company and the unique proposition that you have constructed, including your plan on how you’ll be successful.

You’ll want to give a brief pitch for what your company does that nobody else already does ― at least in your area. Failing that you can go into an explanation for why you’re better than your competition. Think of this as a brief statement that you might commit to memory so that you have an answer for when someone asks you what it’s you do.

After this, provide a value proposition. Go into some detail about the nature of the existing market and why you’ll help fill a gap that exists. You’ll also want to describe the structure of your company. Is this something you’ll be running by yourself? Will you have partners? How many employees will you have, and what roles will they fulfill? Here, you’ll also want to explain how you’re legally set up. We’ll go into some detail later about various types of legal business types there are.

Market Analysis

Before going into business, it’s important to have a clear sense of the landscape. What’s your competition? Are there many competitors in your niche reaching your particular area? You should identify how much money is typically spent on your product or service, and research what possible areas there are for growth.

Describe your industry in general, report on market trends, and provide the outlook for how your general segment of this market sector will trend in the near future.

Identify who your target market is. You may want to draw up a few personas that would represent your ideal customer. How old are they? Are they predominantly male or female? How much money do they have available to spend? You’ll also need to clarify how long it’ll take to get your product to your consumer from the moment they request it to the moment you deliver it.

Next, you’ll need to provide detailed results of any market research that you have done. Identify by name who your top competitors will be. Identify if there’s more work available than they can provide. This may be true in many service sectors. For instance, it can often be several months between the time a customer requests, say, a roofing job to be done and the time that your competition can fulfill this request. If it’s more than a month or so, you have a great opportunity here.

Business Organization

Define your business’ management structure here. You’ll need to include how many employees you’ll have, and what roles they’ll fulfill. Define your ownership structure here as well. If you’re a sole proprietor, with no employees, say so. If there are several other people who have invested equity into your company, explain their roles.

This is also a good place to bring up your background as a veteran. If you’re forming this business with several other veterans, include that information here as well. This will come in particularly handy if you’re attempting to get some funding from a source that specializes in supporting veterans.

If you need people with specific talents, you’ll need to identify what roles you need to fulfill, and what sort of credentials and experience you’ll expect from them.

Product Development Plan

Here’s where you cover what services or products you intend to sell. Provide a basic description of the product or service. Describe how it meets the needs of your potential customers or clients. Explain why your product or service is better than your competition. If it’s a new product, go into detail about what it is, and what features it has. If it’s new, is it available right away or do you need investment to get it created and produced? Explain all of this. If you need to do more research, that’s okay, but include this in your plan, including the research you plan on doing, and what resources you need to accomplish your goals.

Do you plan on relying on external vendors or manufacturers for providing you with the product? Explain this clearly, including how to get needed materials and supplies.

If you’re entering into the tech sector, you’ll likely want to make some statements about your intellectual property. Digital products are relatively easy to steal so make sure you have covered the mental labor you have put into creating your tool or product. Make sure you register or patent any inventions and list those patent numbers here.

Financial Plan

Money is important for running most businesses. There’s a high chance that you may not have a large amount of money available, but it’s very important to outline what it’s you do have and how you plan on raising the necessary capital.

Provide records for your:

  • Income
    Cash flow
    Bank balances

If you have any documentation on accounts receivable (A/R) or accounts payable (A/P), you’ll need to list these out as well.

Remember, if you’re attempting to get a loan from a bank or other source, this information will need to be accurate and verifiable.

You also need to plan out for the future. You should create statements on your:

  • Projected earnings
  • Projected cash flow
  • Balance statements
  • Expenses, including any initial capital expenditures, such as machinery or equipment you need to buy

If you are trying to get money from outside sources, make this explicitly clear here. How much do you need at this moment? Will you need more in the future? Explain all of this.

Step Three: Registering Your Business

Now we need to get into the nitty-gritty of going through the legal procedures for operating a business. It may seem like a pain but it’ll save you many problems in the future.

Choose a Business Name

This part might seem easy, or it may be difficult. Either way, once you’ve come up with a good brand name, you’ll need to register that name with your local state authorities as a doing business as (DBA). This will enable you to cash any checks issued to that business into a bank account you create for your company.

Define Your Legal Structure

These are the main types of businesses:

  • Sole proprietorship: This is what it sounds like. You’re the only person in your business, and you have no employees. This is simple, and it’ll enable you to do business as yourself. Don’t forget to register your DBA.
  • Partnership: If there are at least two people involved, this is a partnership. You’ll need to hire a lawyer to draft a formal agreement between the two or more of you.
  • Corporation: Corporations are far more complicated. These are separate legal entities owned by shareholders, which will require incorporation. Most businesses starting out may not wish to do this, but there are many legal advantages, such as the fact that you personally won’t be subject to any losses gained by the company.
  • S corporation (S-corp): Similar to corporations, but slightly different, S-corps can avoid the double taxation that can occur for regular corporations.
  • Limited liability company (LLC): LLCs are combinations of partnerships and corporations. Those who own shares in an LLC aren’t liable for losses incurred by the business. Taxes pass through to the shareholders.
  • Franchises: Although not exactly a legal entity, franchises are a great option for those who might find starting a business from scratch to be overwhelming. In franchises, you don’t specifically own the company but do own the income you generate for your individual franchise. In a good franchise, you’ll typically receive a lot of marketing help in selling an already established brand.

Register for Taxes

Don’t forget this. Your company once it has been established legally will need to be registered with federal and, where applicable, state and local authorities. You’ll likely need to get an employer identification number (EIN), although, in some cases, you can use your Social Security number. Check with the federal government to find out if you need one.

Get Your Documents, Licenses, and Permits

While this may be a chore, this is important. These vary from state to state and locality to locality and depend on what your specific product or service is. You’ll need to research before you even think of getting started.

Step Four: Funding Sources for Veteran-owned Businesses

You may need money to get started. The good news is that there are a lot of places you can look for help.


If you have a new and innovative product that will interest many people but hasn’t yet been realized, crowdfunding sources, such as Kickstarter, may be a great place to get funding. People will often contribute money in advance for a new product for a chance of getting their hands on this new product or a special offer in advance. It’s a form of small-level investing that has launched many new businesses.


You may be able to get a loan from your bank or, even better, as a veteran you may find that you can obtain a loan from places that specialize specifically in providing loans to those who have served in the armed forces.

Beyond banks, you can consider using the Veterans Business Fund. This is a nonprofit organization designed to provide veterans with the resources and loans that they need to begin their journey into the business world. This fund isn’t currently accepting new applicants but is expected to resume soon.


Some organizations will give you money outright in the form of a grant, which you don’t need to repay. Here are a couple that are available:

  • Warrior Rising Veteran Grants: This organization helps connect veterans to funding sources. It focuses on individual “vetrepreneurs” and helps them get started in viable business opportunities.
  • Idea Cafe Grants: This organization provides grants for entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes. They specialize in smaller grants of under a few thousand dollars, but also offer a variety of other instructional resources.

Veterans’ Resources for Starting and Managing Their Business

Beyond funding, there are several other resources available to help veterans run their companies.

Work With the Government

One area that may seem like a natural fit for many veterans is to work directly with the federal government as an independent contractor. If you’re a veteran you already have experience working for the government. Therefore, why not convert them into a business partner or customer?

To be able to do business with the government, you need to be registered as a government contractor. This is a necessity if you plan on having the government as a customer. You’ll also need to become familiar with the General Services Administration (GSA) that is the agency which manages any contracts with the government.

If you’re looking for help, here are a couple of resources:

Of course, there are resources not directly tied to the government. There are many nonprofits that will help as well. One such organization is the National Veteran Small Business Coalition, which is one of the more comprehensive and full-service organizations. It offers networking opportunities, support in finding funding and seeking mentorships. It’s veteran-run and very much veteran-focused.


Maybe you’re just looking for some good resources to help you learn how to navigate these sometimes treacherous waters of beginning a business. There are a wide range of companies that can help provide courses and information that you may need, including:

Networking and Mentorships

One of the key parts of business is connecting with other business owners. Here are many useful resources for veterans:

  • SCORE: This organization provides many mentoring workshops, some in collaboration with Facebook. Its searchable database lets veterans search for and find experienced mentors, people who’ve “been there, done that” in the business world and can help you do it too.
  • American Corporate Partners: This group has helped more than 20,000 veterans enter the business world through its large network of mentors, many coming from some of the largest, most successful Fortune 500 companies in the nation.
  • Vets In Tech: Provides mentoring and workshop opportunities for veterans looking to transition into the tech industry. It has a job-search board and a place for you to post your resume. A job in a tech company is an excellent way to prepare you to someday start your own.
  • Hire Heroes USA: Offers free job search assistance to U.S. military members, veterans, and their spouses, and it helps companies find opportunities to hire them. It has helped 52,000 veterans and military spouses get hired.
  • Patriot Bootcamp: Helps veterans network with each other to innovate in the business sector. It also arranges periodic training sessions around the country, helping veterans pick up extra skills that they can use to start their first venture.

Disabled Veterans Resources

If you have a veteran-related disability, you may want to check out some of these resources:

Free or Discounted Business Software for Veterans

There’s a range of companies who provide useful savings for veterans, which may be useful in your business:

  • Microsoft: Microsoft offers up to 10% off select products and services. The discount includes business products and services like PCs, Microsoft 365, and mobile products. The discount applies to active-duty service members, veterans, and Reserve and National Guard personnel as well as their family members.
  • Nimble: Entrepreneurial U.S. service members can receive one free year of Nimble CRM software. This is especially beneficial to veterans taking advantage of Microsoft’s offer as Nimble integrates seamlessly with Office 365 as well as G Suite. The Nimble CRM combines contact management, social media, sales intelligence, and marketing automation to help manage and grow your business development.
  • Netsonic: Netsonic is a veteran-owned hosting service dedicated to supporting and showing appreciation for its fellow U.S. military personnel. When starting a new account, simply select the semi-annual billing cycle and enter promo ― PROMO CODE USA ― to apply the discount to basic, advanced, or webmaster shared hosting plans.

Additional Resources

The Office of Veterans’ Business Development (OVBD): This is the SBA’s liaison with the veteran’s business community. Its “mission is to maximize the availability, applicability, and usability of all administration small business programs for veterans, service-disabled veterans, reserve component members, and their dependent survivors.” The OVBD assists with training, counseling, mentorship, and oversight of federal entrepreneurship programs.

VetFran: Extensive research shows that veterans regularly find success as franchisees. The veteran’s success is due to the unique match of skills and aptitude needed to meet the rigorous demands of small business ownership. Veterans make up approximately 14% of all franchisees in the U.S. and VetFran encourages and facilitates the franchisor/franchisee partnership by encouraging discounts and incentives from the former while providing resources and tools to the latter.

Bunker Labs: Bunker Labs is a nonprofit that organizes events bringing military-connected entrepreneurs and veteran small business owners together. Bunker Labs’ online entrepreneurship curriculum helps aspiring business owners move their business from idea to fruition. Ongoing support from the community allows Bunker Labs to provide practical tools and resources to veteran business owners.

Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF): The IVMF focuses on advancing the post-service lives of our nation’s military veterans and their families. Syracuse University and JPMorgan Chase & Co are its main supporters and, through its world-class advisory board, provide career training, entrepreneurship education, and actionable research which helps foster small business ownership of veterans and active-duty military spouses.

National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA): The NaVOBA is another non-profit on our list. It supports businesses that are at least 51% owned, operated, or controlled by veterans by providing networking opportunities and training events. The NaVOBA works with more than 135 of the world’s largest corporations to engage and ensure veteran business enterprises (VBEs) are procurement-ready.

GovConOps: GovConOps is a consulting group for government contractors. Its focus is on preparing contractors for success in the preaward and post-award phases of government contracting. Its managing principals and directors have more than 15 years of combined experience producing favorable dispute resolution results. This service is on top of providing services such as audit and investigation assistance, contract advisory and compliance services, business development, and marketing.

Vet Franchisee Statistics Image


Starting a business isn’t easy. As you have read, there’s much to think about when you’ve endeavored to enter into this realm. However, as a veteran, courage is one thing you likely don’t lack.

It’s still difficult, but the good news is that there are some fantastic opportunities for veterans. I hope this guide will serve you well.

Meet EGBI’s Volunteer- Diana Garcia

By Anne Lagrange

Meet Diana Garcia, an Austinite unicorn (someone born and raised in Austin, Texas). Diana is currently in college studying marketing and data analytics. After graduation, Diana plans on working in the airline industry as a marketing analyst. In her free time, Diana enjoys making pottery and illustrating.

Diana shares her experience as a volunteer with EGBI and how you can get involved too.

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

I am a licensed esthetician. Aesthetics school was actually where I learned about and fell in love with marketing and the reason why I decided to go to school to study marketing.

How have you volunteered for EGBI?

I have helped EGBI’s marketing department by creating social media graphics, writing blog posts, assisting clients in their marketing endeavors, and documenting EGBI’s marketing analytics. 

“Volunteering at EGBI means supporting your local small businesses.” – Diana Garcia

Why is it important to volunteer at EGBI?

Volunteering at EGBI helps local business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs pursue their goals of starting a successful business, which in turn helps the local community grow and thrive. 

Last question, do you have a favorite experience about volunteering with EGBI?

My favorite experience volunteering with EGBI was helping small business owners with their marketing strategies. Their excitement and willingness to learn new concepts made my projects and time volunteering fun and exciting.

 In 2020, EGBI volunteers put in more than 130 hours to help EGBI support and serve over 400 small businesses. Volunteers like Diana 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 get involved.


Por Diana Garcia

Conoce a Nicole Fillion-Robin (Acupunturista Certificada, Máster en Acupuntura y
Medicina China, Diplomada de Medicina Oriental) acupunturista certificada, herbolaria
de segunda generación y fundadora de As Your Are Acupuncture. Hija de una
bibliotecaria y un ingeniero, sus lenguajes de amor han proporcionado recursos y
resolución colaborativa de problemas los cuales se reflejan fuertemente en su estilo al
atender a sus clientes.

Después de haber trabajado por casi una década en el sector sin fines de lucro,
encontró la acupuntura como una solución a sus propios problemas de salud crónicos
e inmediatamente se sintió atraída por ella. Sus especialidades incluyen salud
gastrointestinal, salud mental, salud uterina y el manejo del dolor. Su objetivo final es
proporcionar un espacio libre de juicios para que los clientes sanen y se relajen de los
factores estresantes de la vida diaria.

Nicole comparte su experiencia como emprendedora y como EGBI puede ayudarte a
que tu negocio crezca también.

¡Hola Nicole! ¿Para comenzar, nos podrías decir qué te inspiró a iniciar tu

En el mundo de la acupuntura, actualmente no existen muchos puestos disponibles de
tiempo completo que ofrezcan las mismas prestaciones que un trabajo normal
ofrecería. Quería la libertad de tratar a los clientes como me gustaría que me trataran a
mí y al mismo tiempo tener la flexibilidad como propietaria de un negocio. A veces es
difícil ya que solamente soy yo, pero también valoro mucho la facilidad de poder
experimentar a menudo. Es mucho más rápido girar y probar cosas nuevas por mi

¿Qué es lo que hace único a tu negocio?
Cuando la gente viene a acupuntura por problemas de salud, en muchas ocasiones es
como último recurso. A menudo han pasado por diferentes consultas médicas y especialistas.

Mi objetivo es dedicar el tiempo necesario con cada nuevo paciente para
entender sus objetivos y lo que mejoraría su calidad de vida. No es que sea un modelo
de negocio único, pero trato de ver a las personas tal y como se mueven en el mundo,
como parte de un ecosistema social y al mismo tiempo les ayudo a vivir de una forma
más fácil y ligera, libre de juicio.

¿Cuáles son algunos de los obstáculos que crees que has encontrado al
comenzar o al acrecentar tu negocio? ¿Cómo los superaste?

Tenemos como… 3 horas acreditadas de gestionamiento de prácticas en la escuela
antes de graduarnos y ser lanzados al mundo. Todo lo que he aprendido ha sido al
momento, y aún así hay MUCHO por aprender. Cometo errores conforme avanzó, pero
me reconforta saber que todo tiene solución y que los errores son parte del proceso del
aprendizaje. Tampoco quise pedir ningún préstamo al comienzo de mi negocio, ya que
tenía demasiada deuda estudiantil. Decidí iniciar poco a poco mientras trabajaba a
tiempo completo en un empleo con W2, el cual aliviaba algo del estrés que sentía por
obtener dinero inmediatamente, y me permitió pensar realmente en cómo quería que
fuera y se sintiera mi clínica para cuando yo estuviera lista para dar el gran salto y
hacerlo a tiempo completo.


¿Qué talleres has tomado en EGBI?
Tome el taller de 90 días de Éxito Empresarial, así como también algunas sesiones de
asesoría empresarial .
¿Cómo te ha ayudado EGBI?
EGBI (¡y Leo en particular!) me ayudó al darme la estructura cuando recién iniciaba.
Leo, como mentor, mientras me asesoraba me hacía preguntas que ni siquiera yo
había considerado. También aprecio que tengan especialistas a los que puedes consultar cuando lo necesites para que te asesoren (como contadores públicos) lo cual
puede ser costoso cuando comienzas si lo pagas de tu propio bolsillo. Realmente
aprecio a todos los voluntarios.

Traducido al español por Diana Ariza. Para leer el artículo en inglés, haga clic aquí.

Meet EGBI’s CLient – Nicole Fillion-Robin

By Diana Garcia

Meet Nicole Fillion-Robin (LAc, MAcOM, Dipl. OM), a board-certified acupuncturist, second-generation herbalist, and founder of As Your Are Acupuncture. The daughter of a librarian and engineer, her love languages are providing resources and collaborative problem solving, both of which are heavily reflected in her style of care for clients.

After working in the non-profit sector for almost a decade, she found acupuncture as a solution for her own chronic health challenges and was immediately drawn to it. Her specialties include gastrointestinal health, mental health, uterine health and pain management. Her ultimate goal is to provide a judgment-free space for clients to heal and unwind from the stressors of daily life.

Nicole shares her experience as a business owner and how EGBI can help you grow your business too.

Hi Nicole! To get started please tell us what inspired you to start your business?

In the acupuncture world, there are not many full time positions available at this point that offer benefits like a regular job would. I wanted the freedom to treat clients like I would want to be treated while having the flexibility of a small business owner. It’s hard sometimes, since it’s just me, but I also really value the ability to experiment often. It’s a lot faster to pivot and try new things on my own.

What makes your business unique?

When people come to acupuncture for health conditions, it’s often as a last resort. They have often been passed around by different doctors’ offices and specialists. I aim to spend the time needed with each new patient to understand their goals and what would make their quality of life better. It’s not so much a unique business model, but I try to see folks as they move around in the world, as part of a societal ecosystem while helping them live in an easier and lighter way without judgment.

What are some obstacles you feel like you have encountered in starting or growing your business?  How did you overcome this?

We have like… 3 credit hours of practice management in school before we graduate and get sent into the world. Everything I learned was on the fly, and there is still SO MUCH to learn. I’m making mistakes as I go, but I take comfort in that everything is fixable and mistakes are part of the learning process. I also did not want to take out any small business loans when starting my business, since I had so much student debt. I chose to start little by little while working a full time W2 job, which alleviated some of the stress I felt to immediately make money, and allowed me to really think about what I wanted my clinic to look and feel like when I was ready to take the leap and do it full time.

“EGBI’s organizers and volunteers have been so generous with their time and knowledge – it gave me the confidence and structure I needed to get started and learn as I went.” – Nicole Fillion-Robin

What workshops have you taken at EGBI?

I took the 90 days to Business Success, as well as some business coaching sessions.

How has EGBI helped you?

EGBI (and Leo specifically!) helped give me some structure when I was first starting out. As a mentor, Leo had questions to ask me while coaching that I hadn’t even considered. I also really appreciate that they have specialists you can consult with as needed for advice (like CPAs), which can be costly if paying out of pocket when you first start out. I really appreciate all the volunteers.


Want to work with EGBI? Contact us to find out how you can get started.

Meet EGBI’s Client- Kela Hunte

By Diana Garcia

Meet Kela Hunte, a.k.a. Chef Keii, founder of Keii Brands, Incorporated. Kela’s small business journey began as a necessity after her oldest son suffered an accident that caused a brain injury. At that time Kela worked full-time as a project manager but had to pivot her role to become a full-time primary caregiver. To make ends meet, she began to sell desserts to local schools and regional resorts. Her start-up business began to grow and expand and is now a corporation: Keii Brands, Inc. Under her corporation, Kela runs 4 LLCs: Keii Desserts for custom mixed desserts and regional hospitality deliveries; Keii Entertainment team-building workshops and cooking classes, both virtual and on-site; Keii Apparel for logo aprons and kitchen related products; and Keii C.U.T.S 4 Kids, a nonprofit arm with the goal of empowering creativity for foster kids by creating recipes guided in instruction by Chef Keii.

Kela shares her experience as a business owner and how EGBI can help you grow your business too.

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

In 2020, I was a contestant on Food Network’s “Bake Away Camp with Martha Stewart.” I didn’t win the competition, but I conjured up a winning idea to create a virtual team-building baking business.

What makes your business unique?

Catering by mail is a niche business-to-business market, and I consider myself an innovator in offering all-inclusive partial baking and meal kits with virtual instruction. Tech companies, in particular, hire me for team-building virtual events. I’ve worked with eBay, PayPal, Apple, and more companies. Most recently, I created a series of videos with my instruction for each segment of a Freedom Meal in response to Black History Month. Hundreds of boxes were shipped globally to team members of a large corporation, and all they had to do was scan a QR code to view each cooking segment on YouTube. These videos made the process easier to accommodate the various time zones.

What are some obstacles you feel like you have encountered in starting or growing your business?  How did you overcome this?

Finding the perfect team is the biggest obstacle in any business, but my team is growing, and my status has changed from an independent contractor to CEO. Running a corporation is all-encompassing and I’m constantly mulling over ways I can bring value to my employees, community, clients, and culture. My business continues to grow and evolve, and with this, I am on a continuing education path. Seeking out programs like EGBI is one example of how I can propel forward with the growth of my business.

“EGBI helps people become the version of themselves they did not even know they could be.” – Kela Hunte,

What workshops/business coaching have you done through EGBI?

I have attended a few virtual workshops and EGBI’s Build Your Business Plan series, but my one-on-one business coaching calls with Joni helped me realize I was on the right path to accomplish my dreams and goals.

How has EGBI helped you?

EGBI, in particular Joni, supported me throughout the periods of my business growth. As my mentor, she helped me to focus on my goals and offered me templates and tools to grow my business from an LLC to a corporation. For that, I am grateful. Joni believed in me and my dreams, and at the same time kept me grounded to take those crucial steps to accomplish my goals.


Want to work with EGBI? Contact us to find out how you can get started.


Por Diana Garcia

Conoce a Kela Hunte, también conocida como Chef Keii, fundadora de Keii Brands,
Incorporada. La trayectoria de la pequeña empresa de Kela comenzó como una gran
necesidad después de que su hijo mayor sufriera un accidente que le causó una lesión
cerebral. En ese momento Kela trabajaba a tiempo completo como gerente de
proyectos. Pero tuvo que cambiar su papel para convertirse de tiempo completo en
cuidadora principal. Para poder llegar a fin de mes con los gastos comenzó a vender
postres a escuelas locales y a los centros turísticos de la región. Su negocio inicial
comenzó a crecer y a expandirse y ahora es una corporación: Keii Brands Inc. Bajo su
corporación Kela maneja cuatro LLCs: Keii desserts para postres mixtos
personalizados y entregas a hostelerias regionales; equipo Kei Entertainment que
ofrece talleres de formación de equipos y clases de cocina ambos virtuales o
presenciales; Keib Apparel que ofrece delantales con logotipos y productos
relacionados con la cocina y Kei C.U.T.S 4 Kids una organización sin fines de lucro con
el objetivo de empoderar la creatividad de niños de adopción temporal al crear recetas
guiadas e instruidas por la chef Keii.

Kela nos comparte su experiencia como propietaria de un negocio y como EGBI te
puede ayudar también a hacer crecer el tuyo.

¡Hola Kela! Para comenzar, ¿Podrías contarnos algún dato curioso sobre ti?
En el 2020, fui concursante en el programa de Food Network “Bake Away con Martha
Stewart.” No gané la competencia, pero conjuré una idea ganadora de crear un negocio
de repostería virtual para la creación de equipos.

¿Qué es lo que hace único a tu negocio?
El catering por correo es un nicho de mercado de empresa a empresa y me considero
una persona innovadora al ofrecer paquetes parciales de repostería y comida con todo
incluido, con instrucción virtual. En particular, las compañías de tecnología me
contratan para eventos virtuales, para crear equipos de trabajo. He trabajado con eBay,
PayPal, Apple, y de más compañías. Recientemente, he creado una serie de videos
con mis instrucciones para cada segmento de Freedom Meal en respuesta al Mes de

La Historia Afroamericana. Cientos de cajas fueron enviadas globalmente a miembros
de equipos de una larga corporación, y todo lo que ellos tenían que hacer era escanear
el código QR para ver cada segmento de cocina en Youtube. Estos vídeos hicieron el
proceso más fácil al poder adaptarse a las diferentes zonas horarias.

¿Cuáles son algunos de los obstáculos que crees que has encontrado al
comenzar o al acrecentar tu negocio? ¿Cómo los superaste?

Encontrar el equipo perfecto es el más grande obstáculo en cualquier negocio, pero mi
equipo está creciendo y mi estatus ha cambiado de un contratista independiente a
director general. Manejar una corporación es abarcar todo y estoy en constante
reflexión sobre formas en que puedo aportar valor a mis empleados, a la comunidad, a
los clientes y a la cultura. Mi negocio continúa creciendo y evolucionando y con esto
estoy en una trayectoria de continua educación. El buscar programas como EGBI es un
ejemplo de cómo puedo impulsar el crecimiento de mi negocio.


¿Qué talleres/asesoramientos financieros has tomado a través de EGBI?
He atendido a varios talleres virtuales y la serie de EGBI Crea Tu Plan de Negocios,
pero mi llamada de asesoramiento comercial individual con Joni me ayudó a darme
cuenta de que estaba en el camino correcto para lograr mis sueños y metas.

¿Cómo te ha ayudado EGBI?
EGBI, Joni en particular, me apoyó durante los periodos de crecimiento de mi negocio.
Como mi mentora, me ayudó a enfocarme en mis metas y me ofreció modelos y
herramientas para desarrollar mi negocio de una LLC a una corporación. Por eso, estoy
muy agradecida. Joni creyó en mí y en mis sueños, y al mismo tiempo me mantuvo con
los pies en la tierra para poder dar esos pasos cruciales para alcanzar mis metas.

Traducido al español por Diana Ariza. Para leer el artículo en inglés, haga clic aquí.

Meet EGBI’s Client – Raul Rodriguez

By Anne Lagrange

Meet Raul Rodriguez,  founder of Raul’s Taqueria Al Pastor, a Tex-mex food truck in North Austin. Raul got started cooking helping his mom in the kitchen at her Mexican restaurant. After perfecting the craft, Raul realized how much people enjoyed his food and decided to start his own business. Ten years ago, Raul’s Taqueira was born, specializing in traditional Mexican tacos. Since then they’ve grown to over 3 employees and begun offering their coveted tacos Al Pastor. Today, you can find Raul’s tacos at his food truck on Rundberg Lane and online via Grubhub.

Raul shares his experience as a business owner and how EGBI can help you grow your business too. 

Hi Raul! To get started, would you mind telling us what inspired you to start your business? 

Making the jump from my Mom’s kitchen to starting my own business was inspired by support from my children. My son encouraged me to be entrepreneurial and made me realize I could make money and provide for my family. 

What makes your business unique? 

Our business takes original Mexican cuisine and combines it with our own personal style. We offer a wide variety of tacos and tortas, serving everything from breakfast tacos to tortas Cubanas. 

What are some obstacles you feel like you have encountered in starting or growing your business?  How did you overcome this?  

I think just starting the business was the hardest part. In the beginning it took a lot of hard work. It was difficult securing the truck/space, hiring employees, and gaining customers. My whole family helped out, which made the process manageable.  

What workshops/business coaching have you done through EGBI? 

I took the Build Your Business Plan course and learned to make financial projections and a marketing plan. I really enjoyed meeting other business owners and working with the coaches. 

How has EGBI helped you? 

EGBI taught me the mechanics of starting a business. They also helped me create a growth plan and set smart goals.

Want to work with EGBI? Contact us to find out how you can get started.


Por Anne Lagrange

Conoce a Raúl Rodriguez, fundador de Raul’s Taqueria Al Pastor, un carro ambulante
de comida Tex-Mex al norte de Austin. Raúl comenzó a cocinar ayudando en la cocina
del restaurante mexicano de su madre. Después de perfeccionar el oficio, Raúl se dio
cuenta de lo mucho que la gente disfrutaba de su comida y decidió iniciar su propio
negocio. Hace diez años, la taquería de Raúl nació, especializándose en tacos
mexicanos tradicionales. Desde entonces han crecido hasta tener a más de 3
empleados y comenzaron a ofrecer sus codiciados tacos Al Pastor. Hoy puedes
encontrar los tacos de Raúl en su carro de comida ambulante en la calle Rundberg
Lane y en línea vía Grubhub.

Raúl comparte su experiencia como emprendedor y como EGBI te puede ayudar
también a que tu negocio crezca.

¡Hola Raúl! ¿Para comenzar te gustaría decirnos qué te inspiró a iniciar tu

Dar el salto de la cocina de mi Madre para iniciar mi propio negocio fue inspirado por el
apoyo de mis hijos. Mi hijo me animó a hacerme emprendedor y me hizo darme cuenta
que podría hacer dinero y proveer para mi familia.

¿Qué es lo que hace único a tu negocio?
Nuestro negocio toma a la cocina mexicana original y la combina con nuestro propio
estilo. Ofrecemos una gran variedad de tacos y tortas, sirviendo desde tacos de
desayuno hasta tortas cubanas.

¿Cuáles son algunos de los obstáculos que crees que has encontrado al
comenzar o al acrecentar tu negocio? ¿Cómo los superaste?

Creo que el iniciar el negocio fue la parte más difícil. Al principio me costó mucho
trabajo. Fue muy difícil conseguir el camión/espacio, contratar empleados y obtener
clientes. Toda mi familia ayudó, lo cual hizo el proceso manejable.

¿Qué talleres/asesoramientos financieros has tomado a través de EGBI?
Tome el curso de Crea tu Plan de Negocios y aprendí a realizar proyecciones
financieras y un plan de mercado. Realmente disfruté conocer a otros emprendedores y
trabajar con los asesores.

¿Cómo te ha ayudado EGBI?
EGBI me enseñó la mecánica de iniciar un negocio. También me ayudaron a crear un
plan de crecimiento y a establecer objetivos inteligentes.

Traducido al español por Diana Ariza. Para leer el artículo en inglés, haga clic aquí.

Meet EGBi’s Client- Gabriela Rodriguez

By Anne Lagrange

Meet Gabriela Rodriguez, founder of Taquizas Los Carnales, a Mexican food and catering company based in Austin, TX. Gabriela’s business opened in 2015 when she started baking cakes and gelatins for her friends and family. She never saw it as a formal business until her son encouraged her to begin offering meals. In 2019, they started catering tacos and made plans to further grow the business. Today Taquizas Los Carnales offers appointments through their website and can be found at The East 40 in Bastrop. 

Gabriela shares her experience as a business owner and how EGBI can help you grow your business too. 

Hi Gabriela! To get started, would you mind telling us what inspired you to start your business?

My son knew I could cook a variety of traditional Mexican foods and encouraged me to offer more than baked goods. Through his help I realized I could make a living and better support my family.  

What makes your business unique? 

Our business is unique because we make everything by hand using our own seasonings. We also offer traditional tamales from Oaxaca and Veracruz along with a variety of tacos. Apart from our food, I also feel our interaction with customers is unique. I really enjoy seeing how they appreciate the flavors of the food. Their positive response is really exciting and my favorite part of operating a business.

What are some obstacles you feel like you have encountered in starting or growing your business?  How did you overcome this?  

The biggest obstacles were operating through the pandemic and turning my personal business into a legal entity. With the help of EGBI we got a lot of support making our business plan and learning to survive the critical moments. We also learned the steps to make our business official and create a growth plan. 

What workshops/business coaching have you done through EGBI?

I took two workshops through EGBI. The first was Build Your Business Plan and the second was 90 Days to Business Success. I really liked hearing about how to grow my business and improve my social media. 

How has EGBI helped you? 

During the 90 days of the second workshop series EGBI helped me open a physical location and encouraged me to start offering pastries again. I feel like the workshops made my business more full service and prepared me to keep growing. 

Want to work with EGBI? Contact us to find out how you can get started.