Together we Stand

To Our EGBI Community,
 
We are filled with sadness and frustration over the recent events against African Americans these past few months.  We join the call to find ways to stop police brutality and heal our nation. These horrific acts have led to unrest across the country. We must come together to ensure all of our brothers and sisters are permitted the same opportunities and equal justice.
 
For the last fifteen years, EGBI has been working to help individuals achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.  Along with our partners, we are working to break down the barriers many minorities in our communities face.  By providing training, coaching and support services to small businesses, our clients are receiving the tools necessary to develop sustainable businesses.  Businesses that are making a positive impact in our community.
 
Today, we proudly stand with our partners as we work to create a better nation. A nation where everyone, regardless of the color of their skin or where they were born, will be treated equally and be able to pursue their dreams.  We mourn for these beautiful lives that were taken way too soon, but we must never forget and never stay silent.
 
In Solidarity,
Board and Staff of EGBI

telecommuting

Telecommuting Resources

Due to the current unprecedented events, many of us have been forced to move our work remotely or adjust to a new way of communicating from our homes. Now the questions is, where do I even start? Here is a quick go to list to begin.

DropBox  Bring your files and cloud content together with the tools your team wants to use.

Free Conference Call provides HD audio conferencing, screen sharing and video conferencing with up to 1000 participants. Sign up for a free account.

Google Free access to Hangouts Meet, which allows up to 250 participants and live streaming up to 100,000 viewers per domain, and G-suite until July 1, 2020 .

Jamm Free platform for voice and video collaboration for teams working remotely (integrates with Slack) .

Loom Video recording and sharing service offering boosts to free service plan, discounted prices on LoomPro, and free access for educational institutions through July 1, 2020 . There is no recording limit until July 1, 2020.

Microsoft 365Free 6 month trial of Microsoft 365 E1, with web-based Office apps and business services including email, file storage and sharing, meetings, and instant messaging 

Webex– Video Conferencing, Online Meetings and Screen Share 

Zoom  Online video and web conferencing platform .

Updates During the Covid-19 Crisis

EGBI offers small business owners’ guidance for how to keep your business afloat in the time of Covid-19. These tips are compiled from various websites, conference calls, and conversations over the past two weeks and are SUBJECT to CHANGE from day to day. These tips are not a substitute for legal guidance and your own investigation. Use this guide to point you to things you should be thinking about.

Governmental Health and Safety Orders

  • Federal covis-19 orders trump State Covid-19 orders. State orders trump local orders, but right now in Texas the governor is allowing cities and counties to pass stronger orders than the state.

If you violate the orders, you could be arrested and fined up to $1200 per offense.

The link to the current State of Texas current Covid-19 orders HERE.

Austin Covid-19 information:  http://www.austintexas.gov/COVID19

Keeping your business afloat

You have a couple of choices for Revenue:

  • Stay open and generate revenue if possible, based on your city/county public health response orders)
  • Use the assets of the company (checking, savings and investments)
  • Make a loan to the business from your personal assets
  • Existing line of credit with a financial institution. It is unlikely that you would be able to get a line of credit in the middle of a crisis. If you do have a line of credit, be prepared that the financial institution might cancel it during the crisis.
  • SBA disaster loan – currently – Apply directly with SBA. SBA will determine the loan amount. Must have business financial records and tax returns to prove your need. Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere Businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible.
  • If you are declined an SBA loan, they will follow up with you to review your application. Don’t take NO the first time. Check out the Press Release.
  • You can start filling out the documents you will need:

SBA Form 413Personal Financial Statement

  • SBA Covid-19 disaster loans – proposed – as part of the 3rd bill that congress is debating, part of the proposal is that small businesses would apply for SBA Covid-19 disaster loans through financial institutions; offering working capital to keep the business open and staff in place even while there is no revenue; and potentially loan proceeds for wages might be forgiven in an effort to keep people employed.
  • Other disaster loans as they become available from cities and counties.
  • Unemployment compensation – Self-employed people may apply if you have a loss of 50% of revenue or more as verified by financial records and IRS tax records.

You have a couple of choices for lowering Expenses: (use the same thinking for your personal expenses)

  • Insurance – pay your insurance: health and business (if you remain open) Once you miss a payment, you are without insurance.
  • State Sales Tax – CALL AND GET ON A PAYMENT PLAN send them their money when its due.
  • Key People – You want to take care of your people so that they will return to you after the crisis.
  • Employees: Read your Employee handbook. These will tell you how your business will treat your employees for termination, sick leave and vacation time.
    • Employees will qualify for unemployment compensation if they have lost significant revenue from their job or have had to reduce hours because of government orders. The waiting period for unemployment compensation has been waived. APPLY early. They are very busy. (Employers can request a waiver from an increase in unemployment insurance caused by employees filing claims because of Covid-19)
    • Furlough (pay benefits but not wages for employees you hope will return after the crisis) vs termination (end employment). Your employees are the backbone of your business.
    • If you don’t have an employee handbook, at a minimum write down your leave policies.
  • Loans – start talking to ALL your lenders about deferring payments.
    • Have your account number ready.
    • GET THE PERSONS NAME, a physical address and an email. After your conversation, send them an email recapping what was agreed on. MAKE A PAPER TRAIL.
    • They might tell you that you can defer now but will have to pay off in a few short months. You might be able to catch up payments in a few months via an SBA loan (more about that later).
  • Foreclosures won’t happen immediately – courts are closed to non-emergency actions; HUD, Fannie and Freddie (mortgage buyers) have stated they will not foreclose or evict during the crisis.
  • Vendors – check with all to see what they are willing to do. For instance, ATT has offered to defer phone bills under certain situations.
  • Reduce expenses: save as much as you can to be able to keep paying employees
  • Start preparing financial plans for 2 months, 4 months, and ramp up when this is over. (EGBI can help)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (law passed last week)

  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or childcare unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
  • Employee must have worked one month to be eligible
  • Two Weeks (2) / Eighty (80) Hours paid sick leave ( for Coronavirus) at usual rate
  • Cannot force employee to use other accrued leave first
  • Eligible employees may take up to twelve (12) weeks of job-protected FMLA leave where they are unable to work or telework because of a need for leave to care for a son or daughter if their (primary or secondary) school or place of care has been closed, or their child-care provider is unavailable, because of a public health emergency declared with respect to COVID-19- coronavirus.
  • The first 10 days of FMLA leave is unpaid, but employees may elect to substitute accrued vacation, personal leave, or sick leave for the unpaid leave under this section.
  • An employer may not require such substitution.
  • After the 10 days are exhausted, employers must pay the employee not less than two-thirds of the employee’s regular rate of pay for each day of FMLA leave taken thereafter, capped at $200 per day, and $10,000 in the aggregate.
  • House Bill 6201
  • What Employers need to know about Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

Switching to a delivery service.

  • Insurance: if your business is moving to a delivery service using employee vehicles, make sure they have auto insurance and make sure they call their insurance company and let them know they will be using their vehicle in part for business.
    • Employer insurance: ask your insurance for a “drop down policy” to also cover the business for any auto insurance issues.

Succession planning – who can keep your business going if you were to get sick or worse.

  • Speak to an attorney about your LLC operating agreements and your estate planning documents and who can operate your business when you are not available
  • Ask about a Special power of attorney vs durable power of attorney

IRS

Lastly, small business owners can schedule telephone or Zoom coaching sessions with EGBI staff. For current clients, coaching is free during the crisis. Please visit our website for staff contact information and updated information at www.egbi.org.

Celebrating 15 years of success: Tamale Addiction

A pleasure to provide fresh, organic, local tamales!

Every year, we celebrate the achievements of our clients and their contribution to the local economy at our annual success celebration. This year, we will celebrate EGBI’s 15th anniversary of providing training, coahing, and support services to area businesses with the vision that all businesses be profitable, sustainable, and an asset to the community. Leading up to our big anniversary celebration, we have been interviewing clients every week to feature a total of 15 success stories.

Adrian Paredes and Mariana Paredes are the owners of TAMALE ADDICTION, making each tamale by hand using the highest-quality ingredients. They use 100% organic masa and 0% gluten, lard, trans-fat oils, food additives, or preservatives.

Below is a Question & Answer we recently had with Adrian.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you or your business?

A: Tamale Addiction is a manufacturer of hand-made, artisanal, gourmet, organic-masa tamales. We sell our products in various distribution channels, Famer’s Markets around Austin, small retailers, and food trucks. We also sell in big events such as ACL Music Festival, SXSW, and Trail of Lights.

Q: How has your career added value to your life? To the community around you?

A: This career has totally transformed us. We are totally committed to the business. Our customers have become our friends and the same happens with our suppliers and vendors. Our employees are more like a big family and we celebrate with them their big moments in life. We participate actively with our fundraiser program with schools and organizations sponsoring or sharing with them with a percentage of our sales. This has been of enormous impact for the organizations at the same time that we brand our company to make it more and more recognizable.

Q: How long have you been working with EGBI and how have they helped you?

A: We have been working with EGBI since 2011. EGBI helped us map a more understandable route to navigate all the different areas of entrepreneurship by connecting us with mentors and experts. Finally, we got a better picture of where we were standing when creating a business plan and acting accordingly, taking off hesitation when deciding and making business operations more easy to manage.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

A: Our best accomplishment is to keep our business thriving, our challenges have never been how are we going to survive but how are we going to grow and that is such a difference.

Adrian Paredes and Mariana Paredes are the 12th of the 15 clients we will share stories about each week leading up to our 15 years celebration. Please continue to follow us to read more about the businesses we serve.  If you would like to further encourage these businesses, contemplate using the products and services of our alumni. To do so, visit our CLIENT BUSINESS DIRECTORY.

Celebrating Success Luncheon is less than a month away, on September 6th, 2019. If you are interested in attending, reserving a table, or sponsoring our annual event, please contact Monica Peña at monica@egbi.org and 512-928-2594 . More information about the event HERE.

Never too late to learn to swim

By Hye June Park

As summer approaches, water activities in Austin are very popular. Before enjoying in on the summer fun, you should learn to swim and take into consideration if the places you are visiting have a lifeguard for extra safety.

Seeing the need in these areas, Miranda Melendez, the owner of I AM Ready Swim, offers pool monitors, lifeguards, and teaches swim lessons. Her ideal customers are people or organizations in need of these aquatic services.

She has tips to handle clients who are afraid of water. “We try and get on our client’s level such as holding their hands and going underwater together, or doing minimal things that they are comfortable with until we can achieve the next level,” she continued. Her favorite moment was when she had taught a 68-year-old woman how to swim after being so scared of the water after a traumatic experience. It was on her bucket list before she died to learn how to swim. “Now when I go to the pool I see her swimming laps with her grandson and it brings me so much joy. I love that there is no age limit on a person learning how to swim.”

Although she knew about the aquatic business, she was limited on how to get started. Her lawyer referred her to Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) and everyone there pitched in to help her. “I learned how to build a new business module, budgeting skills and how to run my books. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without these guys.”

One day she would like to open her own indoor pool facility. Her goals for this business is to reach as many lives as possible by teaching water safety, and prevent as many drownings as she can. As long as she can change clients’ perspective of the water and make them less afraid of it, her job is done.  For more information about I Am Ready Swim, visit www.iamreadyswim.com.

I am ready swim

Find joy with artisan candies you’ve never tasted!

By Hye June Park

Traditional Mexican candy is a great treat that all families and friends can eat together. Local made artisan candies by Sweet Tsopelik have a variety of ingredients from fruits, nuts, honey, syrup, flour, and corn which makes it perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Daniela Ariza, the owner of Sweet Tsopelik, specializes in creating her own artisan candies that people may have not seen in the United States before.  Tsopelik means sweet or candy in Nahuatl, an ancestral language from Mexico.  She uses organic ingredients and less sugar than the original candies from Mexico. She also gives the option for vegans as well. “I didn’t want to use ingredients that need refrigeration like milk or eggs. So now, anyone from a toddler to a senior can try my candies.”

She started her business after taking one of Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) workshop series, “I took the class which helped me find business ideas.”

“I created “Garapiñados” which are peanuts covered with sugar from my town. Even though it is my first time to make candies, I read books, did research, and taught myself. I had many failures to make perfect ones, but what I needed was more patience. Finally, I shared good ones with my sisters in law and they loved the sweet treats. That is how I decided to make my business about candies,” she explained.

Starting a business was not always easy and Daniela had some obstacles. Due to her lack of transportation, the venues she could sell her products to were limited. EGBI connected her to organizations such as The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Las Comadres para las Americas, and Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas. Daniela has received help and support from those resources and the community to reach more customers. Her next goal is to reach a broader, worldwide audience that will buy her products.

These special artisan candies can be found when shopping at HOPE Farmer’s Market located in 412 Comal St, Austin every Sunday from 11 am to 3 pm.  For more information about Sweet Tsopelik, visit sweetsopelik.com.

Mexican food truck with plenty of Amor to give

By Hye June Park

Austin’s own Alicia’s Tacoriendo adds something extra to their food; amor! 

Max Varela, owner of Alicia’s Tacoriendo, cooks all of the meals with passion and love for great tasting food. Alicia who is famous in Mustang Ridge for tamales is his mother, so he used her recipes. His local, family-owned business specializes in authentic Mexican food from Monterrey, Mexico at an affordable price. He offers catering for any type of occasion or venue, along with, readily available tamales made to your delight.

“I have worked alongside my mother at many food vending festivals and events. My mother has over 30 years in the food serving industry and owned her own food truck. I want to provide opportunities for my family as we continue to grow,” he said. The community that visits his food truck receives the love he puts in every dish.

Although he had experience before, it was not easy to establish and promote his business. To solve the problem, Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI), helped him refine his business plan and provided him ideas on marketing. More importantly, they continue to offer him business advice and counseling. By completing the EGBI small business workshop series, he was eligible for a free year’s membership to the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce(GAHCC). Being part of the GAHCC will give his business more exposure to potential customers.   You can visit his food truck which is located in 8503 Hillmoore Drive, Austin, Texas 78719.  For more information about Alica’s Tacoriendo visit www.facebook.com/aliciastacoriendo.

Mexicna food

Ice Cream Cone or Fruit Cup?

Las Mangonadas opened it’s doors in December of 2016 to serve customers a variety of their forty homemade flavors of ice cream,  cakes and pastries made daily, fruit cups, and other tasty snacks.  Claudia Sanchez, the co-owner of Las Mangonadas, learned about the business from her uncle, Alfredo Sanchez,  who was already an entrepreneur. Claudia gained experience through a similar business she helped her uncle with in Illinois until she decided to move back to Austin.  Both created the Austin business to provide the assortment of sweet to salty munchies that also include corn cups, smoothies, Doritos locos, and so much more.  In business for less than a year, they have already started to see growth in sales.
Claudia first became connected with Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) when she attended Curso Empresarial, EGBI’s series of workshops taught in Spanish by local subject matter experts who have years of experience dealing with start-up businesses.  “The workshops helped with the general vision of business and learning from the experience of other attendees and instructors.  I was motivated that running a business was not going to be easy, but with tenacity it was going to be possible.” Claudia continues, ” I continue to receive assistance from EGBI anytime I contact them. They are always ready to help with resources, their knowledge, and encouragement. ”

 

 

Do you have a Tamale Addiction?

Tamale Addiction is famous for being fresh, organic, local, and delicious! Since it first set up at a farmer’s market in 2010, these tamales have managed to collect a following of Tamale Addicts and in the process increasing their production from 80 tamales their first week to now 9000 tamales on a Monday through Friday work week. Their flavors have spread fast through markets and coffee shops around Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, and major events as ACL Music Festival, Old Settlers Music Festival, Food and Wine Festival, Formula 1 at COTA, etc. Recently these savory meals have made it into local retail stores.  Now their product can be found in Wheatsville Co-op, Royal Blue Grocery, People’s Pharmacy, Fresh Plus, and Thom’s Market. You may even be lucky enough to spot a Tamale Addiction food truck in an office campus near you!
Owner Adrian Paredes and his wife Mariana’s experience in the food industry started in 2009. After a failed venture with Mexican desserts, a new opportunity randomly aroused when a farmer’s market director asked them if they could make and sell tamales (they didn’t know how, but they said “yes”). Over the next days, Adrian and Mariana called every family member they knew to collect recipes, tips, and tricks about making tamales. They worked all week to prepare 80 tamales for their first market. Those tamales were sold out within an hour. The couple rose to the task before them: going organic and local and create vegan and vegetarian options for their customers. They had found the magic!  This is when Tamale Addiction was born.
Due to rapid growth,  Adrian Peredes sought out training and consulting services from the Economic Growth Business Incubator to develop a business plan and financial projections.  “I  am so grateful for the training, support and networking EGBI has given my business.  The business has been such a great adventure for my wife and I.”  – Adrian Paredes.


ATX Co-op Taxi In the News


ATX Co-op Taxi splits the difference between traditional taxis and ridesharing. ATX Co-op Taxi ride-hail app is up on the iTunes store: “ATX Taxi”. The app is modeled much like your standard TNC template. Should it ever fail, as happened with Fasten and RideAus­tin during SXSW, the co-op can fall back on its full-time dispatch system – staffed with call-takers at an office just like any taxi franchise.
We are proud of our clients, ATX Co-op Taxi. Read more in the Austin Chronicle here.