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.

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.

10 Local Businesses Receive Grants During Small Business Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find the Spanish version here.

Meet EGBI Volunteer – Maria Hoffman

By Bego Calderon

Born in Venezuela, Maria holds a bachelor’s in architecture and a marketing certificate. As a new degree holder, she had the opportunity to work in trade shows’ booth design and production, translating into more than ten years of work in the field of trade shows and corporate image. Later, she moved to the United States and worked in higher education administration spearheading the student services department in a private university. For more than a decade she worked developing student services procedures and training with a particular concentration on students’ non-academic matters assistance, regulations compliance, campus safety, handbook revision and update, student onboarding, and major university events.

Her responsibilities as a student services administrator also provided her with an open door for community service, getting involved in organizing fundraising and awareness events to support national and local organizations, overseeing, and advising students’ clubs and associations, and mentoring the Student Government Association.

Her volunteer work led her to act as a mentor for a non-profit organization, Youth and Democracy in the Americas. Being its Mission to raise awareness regarding the situation of democracy in Latin America, it successfully progressed attaining the support of the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro, several US Senators and Representatives, national and foreign student organizations, and various other non-profit organizations.

More recently, Maria has been involved in e-commerce and logistics having among her duties the translation and interpretation of meetings, training, and documents for limited English proficient team members. In her spare time, she volunteers as an assistant instructor for an early literacy for adults’ program, and as an English-Spanish translator and interpreter for non-profit organizations.

Maria shares her experience as a volunteer with EGBI.

Share a fun fact with us.

I love to swim in cold waters but not on the beach or rivers. I prefer to swim by jumping off of a boat, in the clear shallow blue waters of the open sea.

“It is an exciting opportunity to learn about EGBI’s work and mission” – Maria Hoffman

-How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I was looking for opportunities to volunteer and got involved with EGBI through Volunteer Match.

-Why do you volunteer for EGBI?

It’s an opportunity that allows me to give back to the community. On the other hand, I have the chance to put into practice my translation skills, which is something I highly enjoy.

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

Professionally I believe it is an exciting opportunity to learn about EGBI’s work and mission. Personally, EGBI provides me with the rewarding feeling of being of help for a good cause.

– What was the most rewarding experience you had while volunteering for EGBI?

I’m new to EGBI, yet I appreciate the opportunity to collaborate to spread the voice about the resources available for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

– Why do you think others should volunteer or support EGBI?

Helping small businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed is very important, and volunteering with EGBI increases the opportunities to accomplish that goal.

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/.

Meet EGBI Intern – Giuliana Karolina Noboa Castañeda

By Bego Calderon

I am from Ecuador and am presently pursuing a career in business administration. However, my actual love is marketing, which I am very passionate about. Originally, I planned to become a Biotechnology engineer, but I am glad that I discovered my true calling in marketing and business. Despite this change, I still have an intense interest for the realm of science.

My dream is to work on effective marketing strategies that are closely related to corporate sustainability. In my spare time, I like to go hiking and weightlifting. I also enjoy experimenting with new recipes that I see on Instagram; the more challenging, the better.

Giuliana shares her experience as an EGBI volunteer.

Share a fun fact with us.

I love creating scrapbooks with doodles and paintings, even though I’m not particularly skilled at drawing or painting. I challenge myself to improve, and occasionally, I plan out how I want it to look and then trace it from my phone. Additionally, I take pleasure in gathering mementos from outings and dates, such as tickets and tiny flowers, and incorporating them into my scrapbook.

“If you can do something for others, life brings that positivity back to you” giuliana karolina Noboa castañeda

-How did you first get involved with EGBI?

I was searching for volunteer programs near me, and EGBI looks like a promising opportunity to assist business owners. I truly appreciate their focus on the Hispanic community and the attention they give to language. This was especially meaningful to me, as I am aware of the challenges that new business owners face when they don’t speak English fluently or feel more comfortable with Spanish. Translating is a perfect way for me to contribute and provide help.

-Why do you volunteer for EGBI?

That question takes my mind back to that phrase that goes: “Nadie puede hacerlo todo, pero todos podemos hacer algo.” (Meaning: “Although no one can accomplish everything, each of us can contribute in our own way.”)


Being part of the solution and offering relief to others are fundamental aspects of community involvement. I believe EGBI offers a volunteering opportunity that helps maintain the connection between fellowship and knowledge management, as it enables people to learn from others and share their own experiences.

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

Engaging in translations keeps me attuned to the demands of business owners, utilizing language that can influence rephrasing while retaining the essence to create the impactful meaning present in all the blogs. This has been a valuable learning experience. On the other hand, I have also been involved in marketing efforts recently. Observing the sharing of resources and knowledge, and exploring ways to contribute with creativity and innovation, has been a significant enrichment for me.

– What was the most rewarding experience you had while volunteering for EGBI?

Translating the interns’ blogs allows me to witness the enthusiasm and eagerness of fresh minds to contribute. The proactive approach evident in every word is truly invigorating.

– Why do you think others should volunteer or support EGBI?

If you can do something for others, life brings that positivity back to you. At EGBI, you have a wonderful reciprocal opportunity, surrounded by the perfect environment, tools, and people who are equally willing to support you.

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/.

Meet EGBI Client – Patricia Correa

By Josephine Sun

Born in Mexico and raised in Escondido, California, Patricia Correa eventually moved to Texas and has lived there for 27 years. She has owned her welding business, Cornerstone Welding, for 15 years. She has always had a entrepreneur spirit – after owning several businesses in the past like a food truck, bridal store, wedding planner/decor and even e-commerce, her welding business has been her number one priority. Patricia is married to her husband, Juan Correa, and currently run the business together. She is the mother of 6 (2 boys and 4 girls). As a family, they not only work for our family business, but also have a passion for serving in God’s ministry. Together they lead a church group in Bastrop TX. Patricia says that her purpose is helping anywhere she can be of service.

Patricia shares her experience as a client at EGBI.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

My story as an immigrant was issued in a book called “The Truth in our Stories”. 

“The business knowledge EGBI provided helped me build a better structured business.” Patricia Correa

Tell us about your business.

My business offers mobile welding services. We have a shop in Bastrop where we fabricate and do custom work from fencing, railing, to structural steel. 

Website https://www.bastropweldingcompany.com/

How did you first find out about EGBI?

I found out about EGBi through a friend who is also a EGBI client.

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

I took all the business courses. My business was lacking the fundamentals of business management. The business knowledge EGBI provided helped me build a better structured business. It helped me understand financial accounting and EGBI also helped me set up my own Quickbooks account. I  learned about business entities which led me to create the best one for my business. This has helped me with lowering taxes. 

Why should people consider supporting an organization like EGBI?

They are very informative and the instructors are very knowledgeable and helpful. They cared for my unique needs and concerns, and helped me develop the skills necessary to be even more successful. My biggest victory is an increase of 40% gross revenue and my profit margins went up at the same level. The business coaching workshops have been incredibly valuable in helping me grow as a business woman managing my business and also helped bridge my knowledge deficit. I highly recommend EGBI to any small business owner.

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/.