MEET EGBI’S CLIENT AND VOLUNTEER – RICARDO LEON

By Olivia Yang

Hi! My name is Ricardo Leon. I was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. I have an Associate in Computer’s Science. I joined a tech company back in 2005 in Guadalajara, Mexico and then they invited me to move to the U.S. with a work visa that later on they upgraded to a Green Card.

I understood that I couldn’t build a life around a single income so I decided to open a few lines of businesses with my wife, and this has been an amazing life changing decision for me and my family. The benefits and knowledge that the small business world brings is UNBELIEVABLE GOOD! EGBI has helped us make amazing things possible by giving us entrepreneurs tools to go get things done! I’m very thankful for that!

Ricardo shares his experience as a volunteer and client below.

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

My soul gets full when I see people making the decision and taking action to improve their lives, like opening a business, learning more about personal finances and topics related to businesses, and having the courage and discipline to set goals and go after them. That makes me really happy!

 What is unique about your business?

I work best with business owners that are willing to do more and learn more about the business world. I bring a different perspective and new ideas to the table when they decide to do business with me. I also like giving them as much value as possible beyond any contract, like offering their products or services to people in the community that are looking for them. 

What is the biggest obstacle you encountered in starting or growing your business? How did EGBI help you overcome this?

At first it was my very own limiting mindset, like doing paperwork to form an LLC, talking to the State Comptroller to make sure all transactions would be done correctly in order to collect and pay State sales tax, then getting permits for a food business that I used to run, etc. All of that was overwhelming to me! But then I was invited to participate in the workshops that EGBI provided and that gave me a lot of clarity in terms of how to manage my business and how to make it grow by following a plan. EGBI gave me all these tools and knowledge that I’m using now to get consistent income in my digital marketing solutions business.

EGBI walks you through the entire process of making a small business successful. Isn’t that what you’re looking for?Ricardo Leon

Ricardo, you have volunteered as an instructor and also on the EGBI Marketing Committee. Why do you volunteer with EGBI, and what has your experience been like?

I’m very grateful to EGBI and their goal to make more and more businesses successful. That’s why I volunteer every time I’m invited to. I have nothing but good things to say about this organization and its commitment: to help as many business owners as possible to establish and make small businesses grow. The coaches and managers at EGBI are amazing people that always make sure that all volunteers (like me) feel welcomed and confident to help them in their mission.

What advice do you have for someone thinking of volunteering with EGBI?

Please do it! Everyone’s experience in running and managing a small business is unique and everyone can provide a different perspective on how to get around obstacles, as well as tips and tricks to be successful in this small business world. We all will appreciate your input!

_______

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

MEET EGBI’S VOLUNTEER – AMY COBB

By Olivia Yang

Amy Carrillo Cobb started her business in Spring 2020. Amy holds a bachelor’s in finance and is a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. She started her own business Amy Cobb Consulting to help Business Owners demystify their finances. Amy has a history of non-profit experience beginning in 2007 with her participation in the Hispanic Austin Leadership program. She became a Board Member of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas-Austin Chapter in 2008. She was a board member for the Latino Leaders of America and co-chaired their annual 5k fundraiser Walk-Run-Lead in 2014 & 2015. She now serves as the Board Treasurer for Ladders for Leaders.

Amy is a wife and mother of a 6-year-old daughter. She has lived in Austin since 2004. She is dedicated to using her skills and experience to help others and unify the community.

Amy shares her experience as an EGBI volunteer, supporter, and blog writer below.

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

My fun fact is I’ve completed the Austin Marathon & Half-Marathon. Owning a business is a marathon not a sprint- I am a runner and business owner.

Why do you volunteer for EGBI?

This is my first-year volunteering for EGBl. I believe in the mission and am happy to assist as an Austin Business Owner.

Why do you think it’s important to volunteer?

I created Amy Cobb Consulting on the foundation to enhance social equity. Volunteering was instilled in me at a very young age by my family. We are strong community advocates, and I will continue that legacy through my volunteerism and business.

“I chose to become an EGBI volunteer because I believed in the mission. It is my social responsibility as a community member to help others succeed.”Amy Carrillo Cobb

Why do you write blogs for small businesses owners?

As a Latina and first-gen Entrepreneur, I run into my own set of limits that I subconsciously put on myself. [Based on] my experience speaking, working and strategizing with my clients, others do the same thing. I want to engage business owners through a platform (blogging) that is easily digestible. My blogs allow others to see how I engage with my clients. I am the resource for minority business owners.

What advice do you have for someone thinking of volunteering with EGBI?

Volunteering helps me engage in the community and hone my business skills. It is a way to participate and build your skills.

Amy Cobb shares her knowledge through blog posts for EGBI. Read her recent post on Money Sabotages & Trauma to learn more.

CONOCE A NUESTRA VOLUNTARIA DE EGBI – AMY COBB

Por Olivia Yang

Amy Carrillo Cobb comenzó su negocio en la primavera de 2020. Amy tiene una licenciatura en finanzas y es QuickBooks ProAdvisor certificada. Comenzó su propio negocio, Amy Cobb Consulting, para ayudar a los empresarios a desmitificar sus finanzas. Amy tiene un historial de experiencia sin fines de lucro que comenzó en 2007 con su participación en el programa de Liderazgo Hispano de Austin. Se convirtió en miembro de la junta de la Red de Mujeres Hispanas del Capítulo Texas-Austin en 2008. Fue miembro de la junta de Latino Leaders of America y copresidió el evento anual de recaudación de fondos 5k Walk-Run-Lead en 2014 y 2015. Ahora sirve como Tesorero de la Junta de Ladders for Leaders.

Amy es esposa y madre de una niña de 6 años. Ha vivido en Austin desde 2004. Está dedicada a usar sus habilidades y experiencia para ayudar a otros y unificar a la comunidad.

Amy comparte su experiencia como voluntaria, colaboradora y escritora de blogs de EGBI. 

Amy Cobb


Esta fue nuestra entrevista con ella

Para empezar, ¿te importaría contarnos un dato divertido sobre ti?

Un dato divertido es que completé la maratón y medio maratón de Austin. Ser dueño de un negocio es una maratón, no una carrera de velocidad. Soy corredora y dueña de un negocio.

¿Por qué eres voluntario de EGBI?

Este es mi primer año de voluntariado para EGBl. Creo en su misión y estoy feliz de ayudar como propietario de un negocio de Austin.

¿Por qué crees que es importante ser voluntario?

Creé Amy Cobb Consulting sobre los fundamentos de aumentar la equidad social. El voluntariado me fue inculcado desde muy joven por mi familia. Somos fuertes defensores de la comunidad y continuaré con ese legado a través de mi voluntariado y negocios.

“ELIGÍ SER VOLUNTARIO DE EGBI PORQUE CREÍA EN SU MISIÓN. ES MI RESPONSABILIDAD SOCIAL COMO MIEMBRO DE LA COMUNIDAD AYUDAR A OTROS A TENER ÉXITO”. – AMY CARRILLO COBB

¿Por qué escribes blogs para propietarios de pequeñas empresas?

Como latina y emprendedora de primera generación, me encuentro con mis propios límites que inconscientemente me impongo. Basado en mi experiencia, hablando, trabajando y elaborando estrategias con mis clientes, otros hacen lo mismo. Quiero involucrar a los dueños de negocios a través de una plataforma (blogging) que sea fácilmente digerible. Mis blogs permiten que otros vean cómo interactúo con mis clientes. Soy el recurso para los propietarios de empresas minoritarias.

¿Qué consejo tiene para alguien que esté pensando en ser voluntario en EGBI?

El voluntariado me ayuda a participar en la comunidad y perfeccionar mis habilidades comerciales. Es una manera de participar y desarrollar habilidades.

Amy Cobb comparte su conocimiento a través de publicaciones de blog para EGBI. Para saber más, lee su reciente publicación sobre Money Sabotages & Trauma https://egbi.org/money-sabotages-trauma/

Traducido al español por Veronica Trevisan. Para leer el artículo en inglés, haga clic aquí.

CONOCE A NUESTRA VOLUNTARIA DE EGBI-LESLIE MONTOYA

Por Diana García

Conoce a Leslie Montoya. Nació y creció en Reynosa Tamaulipas, México, donde a la
edad de 15 años, comenzó su carrera en el área de las comunicaciones como Disc
Jockey de radio y muy pronto se convirtió productora en Exa FM una de las mejores
estaciones de radio mexicanas. Leslie obtuvo con honores su licenciatura en
mercadotecnia en la Universidad Eastern Michigan. Trabajó en Univisión por 14 años
como personalidad y productora de radio televisión.
Leslie fue nominada varias veces como la mejor personalidad de la televisión de Austin
por Austin Women in Media (AWM por sus siglas en inglés) en el 2013 fue nominada y
recibió un Emmy por parte de la Academia Nacional de Televisión y Ciencias Lone
Star Emmy Awards. También está certificada como asesora de vida por el instituto
Robins Madanes el cual fue fundado por el gran conferencista motivacional Anthony
Robbins. Es una profesional certificada en programación neurolingüística (NLP por sus
siglas en inglés) por NLP Seminars International Group fundado por el Dr. Richard
Bandler. Su propósito es continuar auto-superándose y ayudar mejor a su comunidad.
Esto le permite motivar e informar positivamente a la comunidad hispana con el uso de
plataformas de comunicación.
Durante 5 años consecutivos, Leslie contribuyó como editora y asesora de vida con
cápsulas mensuales bilingües positivas en la revista local Austin Family. En su podcast,
de Leslie contigo, habla sobre inteligencia emocional y de temas relacionados con el
crecimiento personal tales como ansiedad, cómo dominar el estrés, las relaciones entre
otros temas.
El propósito del programa es compartir conceptos de salud emocional y habilidades
emocionales prácticas que una persona puede entender fácilmente y utilizar en su vida.
Leslie es una personalidad muy representativa de nuestra comunidad hispana en
Austin.
Leslie nos comparte su experiencia como voluntaria en EGBI y cómo puedes
involucrarte también.

¡Hola Leslie! Para comenzar, ¿Podrías contarnos algún dato curioso sobre ti?
Mi debilidad es el antojo de tamarindo: Un dulce mexicano. No puedo decir que no a
ninguna oferta.

¿Cómo te has ofrecido como voluntaria en EGBI?
He tenido la oportunidad y el placer de colaborar con EGBI como maestra de
ceremonias en diferentes eventos y talleres

¿Por qué crees que es importante ser voluntario?
Existen muchos beneficios en lo profesional y en la salud física cuando una persona
decide ser voluntaria. Investigaciones han mostrado que las personas que son
voluntarias se sienten más felices y mejoran su salud mental lo cual ayuda a no
agotarse en su trabajo “real”. Profesionalmente te ayuda a conocer gente nueva, a
aprender nuevas habilidades y más. Es una maravillosa forma de contribuir en tu
comunidad y apoyar a organizaciones como EGBI.

“CONSIDERA SER VOLUNTARIO EN EGBI. SERÁ UNA EXPERIENCIA EN
LA QUE TODOS SALEN GANANDO” – LESLIE MONTOYA

¿Por qué es importante ser voluntario en EGBI?
EGBI es una gran y sólida organización que apoya a emprendedores establecidos a
hacer prosperar su negocio o a principiantes que están pensando en lanzar un negocio
pero no tienen idea de como empezar. EGBI tiene un gran equipo con conocimiento y
sincero cuya misión es proporcionar siempre información valiosa a propietarios locales
de pequeños negocios y a emprendedores.

¿Qué le dirías a quien quisiera ser voluntario en EGBI?
Yo diría qué tendrá una experiencia en la que todos salen ganando. Ellos estarían
apoyando a una gran organización y al mismo tiempo vivirán una gran experiencia y
conocerán a gente maravillosa que les ayudarán a enriquecer su vida profesional.

Leslie Montoya compartirá sus conocimientos en Presentate con confianza en línea y
fuera de línea en la serie de verano de mercadotecnia en EGBI el 7 de junio en
español y el 9 de junio en inglés.

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

Meet EGBI’s Volunteer- Bill Combes

By Diana Garcia

Meet Bill Combes, founder and CEO of No Time for Social – a digital marketing agency that has been in business since 2014. Bill is originally from Long Island, New York and came to Texas via the Air National Guard after spending 4 years in Lawrence, KS. Bill attended K.U. for meteorology and was a weather forecaster in the Air Force at the 127th weather flight in Topeka, KS. In 1995, Bill started his first business, AnythingWeather, a private Austin-based weather company. Bill fell into digital marketing after he left his first start up and a lot of his roofing company clients were asking about running Facebook ads for their businesses, thus the start of No Time for Social. Bill lives in Round Rock and when he is away from work, he enjoys spending time with his wife Ileana and two sons Billy and Alex.

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

Hi Bill! To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?
With my background in weather, I love storm chasing and even ran a business taking people on storm chasing adventures across many states and thousands of miles over the years. I love anything and everything weather and if there is a weather event going on, I am most likely tracking it. The tornado that hit Round Rock was less than a mile from my house which was a little frightening!

How have you volunteered for EGBI?
I will be presenting at one of EGBI’s Digital Marketing workshops on June 23rd, 2022.

Why do you think it is important to volunteer?
I’ve been volunteering on many levels over the years and I love to give back – especially in learning spaces. The ability to take my wisdom and knowledge and pass it on to others to help them succeed is invaluable to me. In fact I usually get more out of it than the individuals I am working with. I really enjoy people and conversations so it just fits when I can speak to others and give back. I’ve volunteered over the years with the City of Round Rock, Round Rock ISD, United Way, the Round Rock Chamber, and a host of other organizations and I love it.

“Supporting EGBI means you are supporting others in their entrepreneurial journey. The more entrepreneurs succeed the better off we are as a society and community. Small businesses are the backbone of the community and just about all businesses start small so let’s help them become successful.” – Bill Combes, founder and CEO of No Time for SociaL


Why is it important to volunteer at EGBI?
Most entrepreneurs are out there on an island with all of the cards stacked against them so they need as much support as possible. They may have friends and family members questioning their path to success, so they need as many individuals on their team to provide guidance in the journey. If we can help develop these business owners and provide information for them to succeed, we have succeeded so it is a win win for all of us. I love seeing people succeed and that is what EGBI is all about!

What would you say to someone thinking of volunteering with EGBI?
If you are looking to give back and you have knowledge that will help others succeed then you should consider volunteering. As I have mentioned previously, I get a LOT out of the volunteering process so I love to do it.



Bill Combes will be sharing his knowledge about growing your business using social media in the upcoming Marketing series on June 23rd from 8:30 AM to 10 AM. To register be sure to register at this link.

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.

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.

CONOCE A NUESTRA CLIENTA – NICOLE FILLION-ROBIN

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
negocio?

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
cuenta.

¿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.

“LOS ORGANIZADORES Y VOLUNTARIOS DE EGBI HAN SIDO MUY
GENEROSOS CON SU TIEMPO Y CONOCIMIENTO – ME HAN DADO LA
CONFIANZA Y ESTRUCTURA QUE NECESITABA PARA PODER
COMENZAR Y APRENDER MIENTRAS AVANZABA.”– NICOLE FILLION-
ROBIN


¿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, www.keiibrandS.com

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.

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