What We are Thankful for

What We Are Thankful for

Al Lopez, December 16, 2013

Thanksgiving may have just passed, but I have not stopped being thankful for another great year here at EGBI!

Just before the holiday, we celebrated our last graduation for clients who completed our entrepreneurship training.  In all, this year we had 80 individuals complete at least 30 hours of business training and present their business plan to their class and the EGBI staff.  The graduation celebrated a wonderful blend of new and developing partnerships, including Las Comadres para las Americas, University of Texas Pan Am Veteran’s Center, El Buen Samaritano, and FuturoFund.

Even with our amazing staff, we couldn’t do all this alone.  In 2013, EGBI delivered over 550 class hours of training – a 44% increase over 2012!  Our dedicated volunteers facilitated over half of those class hours.  And while it is difficult to single one out, we are especially thankful for Manuel Alverdi of Taxes Impuestos y Mas who was named Volunteer of the Year at our third annual Celebrating Success event.

At our Celebrating Success event, we highlighted the fellowship and generosity of our supporters.  Most non-profit events yield about 50% of the gross proceeds. Keeping our costs very low enabled us to direct nearly 90% of the proceeds directly to our program needs.

Another key measure of our success is the way prior students have stayed in touch with the EGBI family. At our year-end event we heard from Jason and Michelle Villarreal, owners of Villarreal Insect and Pest Solutions, and Donie Torrance, owner of Nails Naturally. They shared moving personal testimonies of how their heart for entrepreneurship led them to realize a dream with great benefits to their families – and how EGBI played a key role in making those dreams come alive.

To date, EGBI has graduated 250 clients from our Building Success Program.  About one-third of our graduates have started their businesses and are generating revenue, paying taxes, and employing, on average, two and a half employees – with relatively young and growing businesses.  Last year, our clients reported over $6M of revenue and almost 150 jobs created or sustained. We’re looking forward to our annual client survey for 2013, and anticipate even more impressive results.

It’s great to be a part of an organization that is successfully equipping entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams.  We are grateful for the tremendous support we received this year from our partners at the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, the Chambers of Commerce, Las Comadres para las Americas, Walmart, Wells Fargo, AT&T, IBM, and BB&T just to name a few.  We couldn’t do the work we do without their support.

We’re looking forward to 2014, a year that will have plenty of opportunities. We recognize there will also be challenges, but we are confident that with hard work and the consistent collaboration and support from our partners, we will overcome whatever difficulties come our way. You can be a part of this opportunity – it’s never too late to invest in our efforts.  Won’t you consider a year-end, tax-deductible gift to EGBI to assist us in expanding our programs and services?

Happy holidays, all! We look forward to working with you in the New Year!

I support EGBI

Why I support EGBI

By Al Lopez, October 2012

We have been asking our stakeholders to support the Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), and we have seen an unprecedented increase of individuals willing to support us – including our clients!  It is very gratifying to get such strong endorsements from people who know us the best.

Personally, I support EGBI.  Of course I do, I’m the Executive Director for Pete’s sake.  But, if you were to question why have I invested my work, and sure perhaps some of my own personal resources in this organization, I would say that over the years, I have become pretty passionate about community and economic development. I decided a couple of years ago that I was going to take my extensive business experience and find a mission that would complement my passions. EGBI has turned out to be that, especially given the importance of small businesses to our economy.

I’ve witnessed the development of our clients as they progress through our program and receive one-on-one consultations. They express their gratitude for a program that opened their eyes to the opportunities and also the challenges of being a business owner. I’ve seen them come with a dream and leave with a foundation for their business plan. I’ve enjoyed seeing them developing their marketing and networking skills by actively taking advantage of their free chamber membership. I am proud of our clients, and we feel their struggles and celebrate their successes. Starting a small business can be a fragile situation, that’s why EGBI staff, along with our volunteers, strive to be a resource that will help them succeed.

In the current economic environment, getting new investors (I much prefer investors to donors) for a non-profit is difficult, but we have seen that organizations and individuals who share the same passion for economic development are willing to support us. We are hoping to continue to increase the number of folks who know about our work and are willing to invest with me in helping EGBI prosper. 

Our Second Annual Celebrating Success event on December 6th is the perfect opportunity to get to know more about what we do and if you like, financially support our organization to allow us to continue to expand our capacity, reach and impact on the community we serve.