By Diana Garcia

Meet Pilar Sanchez. In 2000, she was responsible for starting another Housing Authority City of Austin (HACA) subsidiary, SHCC, from the ground up. SHCC now generates the revenue to fund the social services provided by Austin Pathways, the non-profit she currently leads at HACA. 

Sanchez’s entrepreneurial spirit was instrumental in co-founding a business incubator in East Austin in 2008. Sanchez brokered a three-tiered partnership between her employer, the Housing Authority (HACA), the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC), and the Hispanic Technology Institute of Austin (HTIA) to start an incubator that would help small to medium business thrive and create new jobs during the recession. This became the Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), which spun off as its own independent non-profit in 2010. HACA still supports EGBI in many ways; they provide the space at Eastland Plaza, and have provided over $1 Million in funding for operations since 2010.


As a co-founder and lifelong EGBI volunteer, Pilar hopes that EGBI can encourage others to not only support themselves but to also support their families, friends, and community through the value of philanthropy. 

Pilar shares a quick fun fact about herself. “While my mother taught me to be a strong, independent, and caring person, she never taught me to bake. My daughter asked me to make her a castle made of cupcakes for her 4th birthday. John, my husband, knew we were in trouble when I could not find a box of cupcake mix in the cake-mix aisle.  Don’t ask me to bake for you; you might regret it. ” Although we may not ask her to bake for EGBI, her unwaivering commitment to EGBI and the local community is evident through all the areas she has volunteered for the organization. She has served on the board, various committees, and different projects throughout the years.

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